Skip to main content

Full text of "The great didactic of John Amos Comenius;"

See other formats


Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924031053709 



Cornell University Library 
LB475.C73 A6 1907 




olin 



3 1924 031 053 709 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



THE 

GREAT DIDACTIC 



OF 



JOHN AMOS COMENIUS 



TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH AND EDITED WITH 

BIOGRAPHICAL, HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL 

INTRODUCTIONS 

BY 

M. W. KEATINGE, M.A. 

READER IN EDUCATION IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD 



PART II.— TEXT 



LONDON 

ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK 

1907 



LB 
C "7 3 



Published as one Volume in May 189 
Second Part reissued A^ril 1907. 



3 



^-S73f^ 



The Great Didactic 

of 

John Amos Comenius 



The Great Didactic 

Setting forth 

The whole Art of Teaching 
all Things to all Men 



A certain Inducement to found such Schools in all 

the Parishes, Towns, and Villages of every 

Christian Kingdom, that the entire 

Youth of both Sexes, none 

being excepted, shall 

^^ickly, Pleasantly, &' Thoroughly 

Become learned in the Sciences, pure in Morals, 

trained to Piety, and in this manner 

instructed in all things necessary 

for the present and for 

the future life, 

in which, with respect to everything that is suggested, 

Its Fundamental Principles are set forth from the essential 

nature of the matter, 

Its Truth is proved by examples from the several 

mechanical arts, 

Its Order is clearly set forth in years, months, days, and 

hours, and, finally, 

An easy and sure Method is shown, by wrhich it can 

be pleasantly brought into existence. 



Let the main object of this, our Didactic, be as follows : To 
seek atid to find a method of instruction, by which teachers 
may teach less, but learners may learn m^re ; by which schools 
may be the scene of less noise, aversion, and useless labour, 
but of more leisure, enjoyment, and solid progress ; and 
through which the Christian community may have less dark- 
ness, perplexity, and dissension, but on the other hand more 
light, orderliness, peace, and rest. 

God be merciful unto us and bless us, and cause his face to^ 

shine upon us ; 
That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health 

among all nations. — Psalm Ixvii. i, 2. 



GREETING TO THE READER 

[ The References are to notes at the end of the took] 

I. Didactic signifies the art of teaching. Several men of 
abiUty, taking pity on the Sisyphus-labour of schools, have 
lately endeavoured to find out some such Art, but with 
unequal skill and unequal success. 

2. Some merely wished to give assistance towards 
learning some language or other with greater ease. Others 
found ways of imparting this or that science or art with 
greater speed. Others suggested improvements of various 
kinds ; but almost all proceeded by means of unconnected 
precepts, gleaned from a superficial experience, that is to 
say, a posteriori. 

3. We venture to promise a Great Didactic, that is to 
say, the whole art of teaching all things to all men, and 
indeed of teaching them with certainty, so that the result 
cannot fail to follow ; further, of teaching them pleasantly, 
that is to say, without annoyance or aversion on the part 
of teacher or pupil, but rather with the greatest enjoy- 
ment for both ; further of teaching them thoroughly, not 
superficially and showily, but in such a manner as to lead 
to true knowledge, to gentle morals, and to the deepest 
piety. Lastly, we wish to prove all this a priori, that is to 
say, from the unalterable nature of the matter itself, drawing 
off, as from a living source, the constantly flowing runlets, 
and bringing them together again into one concentrated 
stream, that we may lay the foundations of the universal 
art of founding universal schools. 

5 



f- 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



y 



4. The prospect which is here held out is indeed great 
and very desirable, though I can easily foresee that to many 
it will appear to be an idle dream rather than the exposi- 
tion of a real possibility. 

In the meantime let each one, whoever he may be, 
withhold his judgment until he knows the true nature of 
my proposition. He will then be at liberty not only to 
form his judgment, but also to make it public. For I 
cannot wish, and much less can I claim, to hurry along 
any one by persuasion so that he give his approval to an 
insufiSciently established proposition ; but rather desire that 
each observer should naturally bring to bear on the matter, 
his own, and indeed his keenest senses (which should be 
dulled by no deceits of the imagination). This it is that 
I most earnestly demand and entreat. 

5. The matter is indeed a serious one, and, as all should 
earnestly wish for the result, so should all, with united effort, 
carefully pass judgment on the means, since the salvation 
of the human race is at stake. 

What better or what greater service could we perform 
for the state than to instruct and to educate the young ? 
Especially a ^the present time and in the present c ondition 
of morals, when they have sunk so low that, as Cicero says, 
all should join to bridle them and keep them in check. It 
was Philip Melanchthon who' remarked that to educate the 
young well was a greater feat than to sack Troy ; and in 
this connection we may note the saying of Gregory 
Nazianzen : ^ "To educate man is the art of arts, for 
he is the most complex and the most mysterious of all 
creatures." -' 

6. Now to portray the art of arts is a troublesome 
matter, and calls for exceptional criticism ; and not that of 
one man alone, but of many ; since no individual is so keen- 
sighted that the greater part of any matter does not escape 
his observation. 

7. With justice therefore I demand from my readers, and 
adjure all who shall see this undertaking, by the salvation 
of mankind : firstly, not to attribute it to indiscretion if 



GREET mo TO THE READER 



any one resolve not only to investigate so weighty a matter, 
but also to give promises; since this can only have the 
advantage of others as its object. Secondly, not to lose 
heart at once, if the first attempt do not succeed on the 
spot, and the longed-for result be not brought to full com- 
pletion by us. For in any matter it is necessary that the 
seed should first sprout, and then raise itself gradually. 

However incomplete, therefore, our essay may be, and 
however much it fall short of the goal at which we aim, 
the investigation itself will prove that it has reached a 
higher stage, and one lying nearer the goal than hitherto. 
Finally, I ask my readers to bring with them to their 
criticism as much attention and keenness as is befitting 
in matters of the greatest importance. It will be my first 
step to touch briefly on the circumstances that led to this 
essay and to enumerate the chief points that present any 
novelty ; I can then with full confidence entrust the one to 
my reader's candour, the other to his further research. 

8. This art of teaching and of learning was in former 
centuries to a great extent unknown, at any rate in that 
degree of perfection to which it is now wished to raise it, 
and on that account the world of culture and the schools 
were so full of toil and weariness, of weakness and deceits, 
that only those who were gifted with parts beyond the 
ordinary could obtain a sound education. 

9. But recently it has pleased God to let the morning 
glow of a newly-rising age appear, in which He has inspired 
some sturdy men in Germany, who, weary of the errors of 
the present method of instruction, began to think out an 
easier and shorter way of teaching languages. This they 
did, the one after the other, and therefore some with 
greater, others with less success, as may be seen in the 
didactic works that they gave to the world. 

10. I here allude to men like Ratke,^ Lubin,^ Helwig,* 
Ritter,6 Bodin,« Glaum, Vogel,'' Wolfstirn,^ and he who 
deserves to be placed before them all, John Valentine 
Andrese^ (who in his golden writings has laid bare the 
diseases not only of the Church and the state, but also of 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



the schools, and has pointed out the remedies). In France 
too they set this stone in motion, since, in the year 1629, 
Janus Caecilius Frey i" brought out a fine work on Didactic 
(under the title, A new and easy way to the goodly Sciences 
and Arts, to Languages, and to Rhetoric). 

11. It is almost incredible what pleasure I found, and 
how my pain over the decline of my native land and the 
terribly oppressed state of all Germany was lightened when- 
ever opportunity arose and I turned over the pages of these 
writings. For I began to hope that it was not without 
purpose that the providence of the Almighty had allowed 
it to come to pass that the decline of the old schools and 
the foundation of new ones in harmony with new ideas 
should take place at one and the same time. For he who 
intends to raise a new building, invariably levels the ground 
beforehand and removes the less comfortable or ruined 
houses. 

1 2. This thought raised in me a joyful hope mingled with 
pleasant emotion ; but I soon felt this vanish, and reflected 
that it would be impossible to reconstruct such an important 
institution from the very beginning. 

13. As I wished for instruction on some points, and on 
'Others wished, myself, to instruct my fellows, I applied by 

letter first to one then to another of the above-mentioned 
writers. In vain, however, partly because some guarded 
^their ideas with great care, partly because the letters did 
not reach those to whom they were directed, and therefore 
remained unanswered. 

14. Only one of them (the renowned J. V. Andrese) 
sent the friendly answer that he wished to be of some 
assistance, and urged me to proceed with my efforts. 
Stimulated by this, my spirit began to take more daring 
flights, till at last my unbounded solicitude for the public 
good led me to take the matter thoroughly in hand. 

IS- So, putting on one side the discoveries, thoughts, 
observations, and admonitions of others, I began myself to 
investigate the matter thoughtfully and to seek out the 
causes, the principles, the methods, and the objects of the 



GREETING TO THE READER 



art of teaching (discentia as they may be called after Ter- 
tullian). 

1 6. This was the origin of my treatise, which, as I trust, 
developes the subject more thoroughly than has hitherto 
been done. It was first composed in my mother tongue 
for the use of my people, and afterwards on the advice of 
several men of standing translated into Latin, in order that, 
if possible, it might be of universal use. 

1 7. For, as Lubin says in his Didactic, Charity bids us 
not to niggardly withhold from mankind what God has 
intended for the use of all, but to throw it open to the 
whole world. 

For it is the nature of all true possessions that they can 
be shared by all ; and that they advantage all more and 
more in proportion as they are shared by greater numbers. 

18. It is also a law of human existence that if any know 
of assistance lying close at hand to those who are struggling 
he should not withhold it from them ; especially in a case, 
as in the one before us, where the matter concerns not one 
but many, and not individuals merely but towns, provinces, 
kingdoms, and in short the whole human race. 

1 9. Should there be any man who is such a pedant as to 
think that the reform of schools has nothing to do with the 
vocation of a Theologian, let him know that I was myself 
thoroughly penetrated with this idea. But I have found 
that the only way in which I can be freed from it is to 
follow God's call, and without digression to devote myself 
to that work to which the divine impulse directs me. / 

20. Christian readers, suffer me to speak with you con- 
fidentially ! My more intimate friends know that I am a 
man of little ability and almost without literary training, 
but that, nevertheless, I lament the defects of the age, and 
make great endeavours to remedy these in any way that is 
possible, whether by means of my own discoveries or those 
of others (though this can only take place by the grace of 
God). 

2 1 . Therefore, if anything should find favour, it is not 
my work but His who is wont to win praise from the 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



mouths of children, and who in order to prove Himself 
faithful, earnest, and benign, gives to those who ask, opens 
to those who knock, and grants Himself to those who seek 
Him (Luke ii.), and whose good gifts to us we ought to 
pass on ungrudgingly to others. As my Saviour knows, 
my heart is so simple that it makes no difference to me 
whether I teach or am taught, whether I exhort or am 
exhorted, whether I am the teacher of teachers, or the 
scholar of scholars. 

2 2. And so, what the Lord permits me to observe, that 
give I forth for public use and as common property. 

23. If any find anything better, let him follow my 
example, lest, having buried his talent in a napkin, he be 
accused of wantonness by our Lord, who wills that His 
servants put out to usury so that the talent which is given 
to each may win another talent (Luke xix.). 

To seek what is great is noble, was ever noble, and ever will 

be noble. 
What thou hast begun with God cannot remain without result. 



DEDICATORY LETTER ^ 



To all superiors of human society, to the rulers of states, 
the pastors of Churches, the parents and guardians of 
children, grace and peace from God the Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ in the Holy Ghost. 

God, having created man out of dust, placed him in a 
Paradise of desire, which he had planted in the East, not 
only that man might tend it and care for it, but also that 
he might be a garden of delight for his God. 

For as Paradise was the pleasantest part of the world, so 
also was man the most perfect of things created. In Para- 
dise each tree was delightful to look at, and more pleasant 
to enjoy than those which grew throughout the earth. In 
man, the whole material of the world, all the forms and the 
varieties of forms were, as it were, brought together into 
one in order to display the whole skill and wisdom of God. 
Paradise contained the tree of the knowledge of good and 
evil ; man had the intellect to distinguish, and the will to 
choose between the good and the bad. In Paradise was 
the tree of life. In man was the tree of ImmortaUty itself; 
that is to say, the wisdom of God, which had planted its 
eternal roots in man. 

And so each man is, in truth, a Garden of Delights for 
his God, as long as he remains in the spot where he has 
been placed. The Church too, which is a collection of 
men devoted to God, is often in Holy Writ likened to 
a Paradise, to a garden, to a vineyard of God. But alas 

' Following Lindner, I have slightly curtailed this Dedicatory Letter. 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



for our misfortune ! We have at the same time lost the 
Paradise of bodily delight in which we were, and that of 
spiritual delight, which we were ourselves. We have been 
cast out into the deserts of the earth, and have ourselves 
become wild and horrible wildernesses. We were ungrateful 
for the gifts, both of the body and of the soul, with which 
God had so richly provided Paradise ; with right therefore 
have we been deprived of them and been dowered with 
calamity. 

But glory, praise, honour, and blessing for everlasting 
to our merciful God who abandoned us for a while but did 
not thrust us from Him for ever. . . . The garden of the 
Church, the delight of God's heart, blooms anew. 

But does this new plantation of God succeed entirely 
according to His wishes ? Do all the shoots grow success- 
fully? Do all the newly-planted trees bring forth spike- 
nard, crocus, cinnamon, myrrh, spices, and costly fruits? 
Do we hear the voice of God calling to His Church : I had 
planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed : how then 
art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine 
unto me? (Jeremiah ii. 21). Here we have the complaint 
of God that even this new plantation of Paradise is de- 
teriorating. . . . 

He who knows not that he is ill cannot heal himself; 
he who feels not his pain utters no sigh ; he who sees 
not his danger does not start back, even though he be on 
the brink of an abyss ; and so it is not to be wondered 
at that he who perceives not the wave of disorder which 
is sweeping over the human race and over the Church, 
does not lament the fact. But he who sees himself and 
others covered with countless wounds ; he who remarks that 
the wounds and boils, both his own and other men's, fester 
ever more and more ; and who knows that he, with others, 
stands in the midst of gulfs and precipices and wanders 
among snares, in which he sees one man after another 
being caught, it is hard for him not to be terrified, not to 
marvel, not to perish with grief. 

For what part of us or of our concerns is in good 



DEDICA TOR V LE TTER 1 3 

condition? None. Everything lies overturned or in 
shreds. With most men such a dulness of wit is pre- 
dominant, instead of the understanding through which we 
ought to be equal to the angels, that they know no more 
about those things which are worthy of our attention than 
do the beasts. Instead of the circumspection with which 
those who are destined for eternity ought to prepare them- 
selves for it, there reigns such forgetfulness, not only of 
eternity but also of mortality, that most men give them- 
selves up to what is earthly and transient, yea, even to the 
death that stands before them. Instead of the godly 
wisdom through which it has been given to us to know, 
to honour, and to enjoy the One who is the height of all 
goodness, there has arisen a horrible shrinking from that 
God in whom we live, move, and have our being, and a 
foolish conjuration of His holy name. Instead of mutual 
love and purity, reign hatred, enmity, war, and murder. 
Instead of justice, we find unfairness, roguery, oppression, 
theft, and rapine; instead of purity, uncleanliness and 
audacity of thought, word, and deed ; instead of simplicity 
and truth, lying, deception, and knavery ; instead of 
modesty, pride and haughtiness between man and man. 

But in spite of all this, there remains for us a twofold 
comfort. First, that God keeps the eternal Paradise in 
readiness for His chosen ones, and that there we shall find 
a perfection, more complete and more durable than that 
first one which we lost. Into this Paradise went Christ 
(Luke xxiii. 43), thither was Paul caught up (2 Corinthians 
xii. 4), and John saw its splendour with his own eyes (Rev. 
i. 12 ; xxi. 10). 

Another consolation consists in this, that here below also 
God continually renews the Paradise of the Church, and 
turns its deserts into a garden of delights. We have on 
several occasions seen with what grandeur this has already 
taken place : after the Fall, after the Flood, after the entrance 
of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, under 
David and Solomon, after the return from Babylon and the 
rebuilding of Jerusalem, after Christ's ascension into heaven 



14 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

and the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, under 
Constantine, and elsewhere. Perchance even now, after 
such a bloody war and after such devastation, the Father 
of mercy looks upon us graciously : how thankfully should 
we approach Him, and ourselves take care of our own 
interests, working by those ways and means which the most 
wise God, the Ordainer of all things, will show us. 

The most useful thing that the Holy Scriptures teach us 
in this connection is this, that there is no more certain way 
under the sun for the raising of sunken humanity than the 
proper education of the young. Indeed Solomon, after he 
had gone through the whole labyrinth of human error and 
had mournfully recognised that perverseness could not be 
cured nor imperfections enumerated, turned at length to 
the young and adjured them to remember their Creator in 
the days of their youth, to fear Him, and to keep His 
commandments, for that this was the whole duty of man 
(Eccles. xii. 1 3). And in another place, " Train up a child 
in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not 
depart from it " (Proverbs xxii. 6). David also says, " Come, 
ye children, hearken unto me : I will teach you the fear of 
the Lord " (Psalm xxxiv. 11). The heavenly David himself, 
the true Solomon, the eternal Son of God who came down 
from heaven to turn us from sin, leads us on to the same 
path when He says, " Suffer the little children to come unto 
me, and forbid them not : for of such is the kingdom of 
God" (Mark x. 14), and said to us besides, "Verily I say 
unto you. Except ye be converted, and become as little 
children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven " 
(Matthew xviii. 3). What advice is this ! Hear, all of you, 
and weigh carefully what the Lord and Master declares; 
how He announces that the little ones only are fit for the 
kingdom of God, that they are heirs of the kingdom and 
that only those who become as little children are to be 
admitted to share this inheritance. O dear children, may 
you rightly appreciate this goodly privilege! Just consider, 
we elders, who consider that we alone are men, but that 
you are apes, that we alone are wise, and that you lack 



DEDICATORY LETTER 15 

sense, that we are eloquent, but you speechless — we, I say, 
are sent to learn our lessons from you ! You are set 
over us as masters, you are to be our models and examples. 
If any one should wish to deliberate why God prizes 
children so highly, he will find no weightier reason than 
this, that children are simpler and more susceptible to the 
remedy which the mercy of God grants to the lamentable 
condition of men. For this reason it is that Christ 
commands us elders to become as little children, that is, 
to throw off the evil that we have gained from a bad 
education and from the evil examples of the world, and to 
return to our former condition of simplicity, gentleness, 
modesty, purity, and obedience. But, because nothing is 
harder than to lay aside our habits, it comes to pass that 
there is no more difficult task than for a badly-trained 
man to return to his former state. The tree remains as it 
grows, high or low, with straight or with crooked branches, 
and when it is full grown cannot be altered. The felloe, 
the piece of wood which has been bent to the shape of the 
wheel and has become hard in this position, breaks rather 
than be straightened, as experience teaches us. God also 
says the same of men who are accustomed to evil dealing : 
" Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his 
spots ? then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do 
evil" (Jeremiah xiii. 23). From this it necessarily follows 
that, if the corruption of the human race is to be remedied, 
this must be done by means of the careful education of 
the young. 

But in order to educate the young carefully it is neces- 
sary to take timely precautions that their characters be 
guarded from the corruptions of the world, that the seed 
of honour sown in them be brought to a happy growth by 
pure and continuous teaching and examples, and, lastly, 
that their minds be given over to the true knowledge of 
God, of man, and of nature, that they may grow accus- 
tomed to see in this light the light of God, and to love and 
to honour the Father of Light above all things. 

If this take place, the truth of the Psalmist's words will 



i6 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

be evident, " Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast 
thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou 
mightest still the enemy and the avenger " (Psalm viii. 3). 

For this reason has God given the little ones angels as 
guardians (Matthew xviii. 10), has placed their parents 
over them to take care of them, and bidden to bring 
them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord 
(Ephesians vi. 4) ; and thus He solemnly bids all others, 
under penalty of eternal damnation, not to lead the young 
into sin through a bad example (Matthew xviii. 6, 7). 

But how are we to carry this out when corruption is 
spreading so rapidly ? In the time of the Patriarchs, since 
these holy men dwelt in seclusion from the world, and, 
in their own families, were not only fathers but priests, 
masters, and teachers as well, this was not such a difficult 
matter. For, after they had removed their children from 
intercourse with wicked men and had enlightened them 
by good and virtuous example, they brought them up by 
gentle admonition, encouragement, and, where necessary, 
by correction. God Himself is witness that Abraham did 
so, when He says : " For I know him, that he will com- 
mand his children and his household after him, and they 
shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judg- 
ment" (Genesis xviii. 19). But now we dwell close 
together, the good and the bad are mingled, and the bad 
are many more than the good. The example of these men 
makes so powerful an impression on the young that the 
precepts for the practice of virtue, which we administer as 
an antidote against evil, have either no result at all or one 
that is inappreciable. But what must be the result if even 
these precepts are seldom delivered? There are few 
parents who are in the position to teach their children 
anything good, either because they have themselves never 
learned anything of the kind, or because their heads are 
full of other things ; and thus education is neglected. 

There are also few teachers who can bring good prin- 
ciples home to the young, and when one arises he is 
snatched up by some man in high position that he may 



DEDICATORY LETTER 17 

busy himself with his children ; the people get little advan- 
tage from him. Thus it comes to pass that the rest of the 
children grow up without the education that they need, like 
a forest which no one plants, waters, cuts, or keeps in order. 
Hence it is that we find unruly manners and customs in 
the world, in towns and in market-places, in houses and in 
men, for these both in body and soul are full of confusion. 
If Diogenes, Socrates, Seneca, or Solomon were to come 
to life again this day and visit us, they would find the 
world in the same state as formerly. Were God to address 
us from heaven He could only say as He said before : 
" They are all gone astray, they are altogether become 
filthy : there is none that doeth good, no, not one " 
(Psalm xiv. 3). If, therefore, any man exist who can 
devise some plan, or who with tears, sighs, and entreaties 
can obtain from heaven a method by which some improve- 
ment may be made in the youth who are growing up, let 
him not hold his tongue, but rather let him advise, think, 
and speak. " Cursed be he that maketh the blind to 
wander out of the way," says God (Deuteronomy xxvii. 1 8). 
And cursed, therefore, is he who can free the blind from 
their error and does not do so. " Woe unto him who shall 
offend one of these little ones,'' says Christ (Matthew xviii. 
6, 7). Woe also unto him who can prevent injury and 
does not. God wills not that the ass or the ox that 
strays through field and forest and sinks under its burden 
be deserted, but that it receive help, even if the helper do 
not know to whom it belongs, or if he know that it is his 
enemy's (Deuteronomy xxii. i). Can it then please Him 
that we pass by without thought, and stretch out no help- 
ing hand, when we see the errors, not of beasts, but of 
intelligent beings, not of one or two, but of the whole 
world ? Let this be far from us ! 

Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceit- 
fully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from 
blood (Jeremiah xlviii. 10). And yet we hope to remain 
guiltless while we thoughtlessly suffer the terrible Babylon 
of error that is ours ! Up, let him seize his sword who is 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



girt with one, or who knows where one lies buried in its 
sheath ! Let him demand the destruction of Babylon, 
that lie be blessed by the Lord ! 

And so fulfil this command of the Lord with eagerness, 
ye rulers, ye servants of the Most High, and with the 
sword of righteousness banish the disorder with which the 
world is filled. 

Busy yourselves, ye governors, ye faithful servants of 
Jesus Christ, and utterly destroy evil with the sword that 
is entrusted to you, with the two-edged sword of speech ! 
Ye have seen that early youth is the best time to attack 
the evils of the human race ; that the tree which is to 
thrive for ages is best planted when quite young; that 
Sion is most easily raised on the site of Babylon when the 
living building-stones of God, the young, are early broken, 
shaped, and fitted for the heavenly building. If we wish 
to have well-ordered and prosperous Churches, states, and 
households, thus and in no other way can we reach our goal. 

But how to take this in hand and to carry it out with 
the desired result, this I will place before your eyes, I 
whose spirit the Lord has called to the work. See, hear, 
and mark its nature carefully, you to whom the Lord has 
given eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds to judge. 

If a light, unseen before, be revealed to any, let him 
give God the glory and not grudge the illumination to the 
rising generation. But if he perceive any defect, even the 
smallest, in this light, let him complete and perfect it, or, 
that it may be perfected, let him recall the saying, " Many 
eyes are better than one." 

Thus we shall mutually help one another to carry out 
the work of God with unanimity ; thus we shall escape the 
curse which threatens those who neglect the Lord's work ; 
thus we shall consult the welfare of the world's most 
precious possession, the young, as much as is possible; 
thus we shall shine with the brightness granted to those 
that turn others to righteousness (Daniel xii. 3). 

May God have mercy on us, that we see the light ! 



Amen. 



THE USE OF THE ART OF TEACHING" 



That the art of teaching be placed on a proper foundation 
is to the advantage — 

1. Of parents, who up to this time have for the most 
part been uncertain how much to expect from their 
children. They hired tutors, besought them, strove to win 
them over by gifts, changed them, just as often in vain as 
with any result. But now that the method of teaching has 
been reasoned out with unerring accuracy, it will, with the 
assistance of God, be impossible that the desired result 
should not follow. 

2. Of schoolmasters, the greater number of whom have 
been quite ignorant of their art, and who used therefore to 
wear themselves out when they wished to fulfil their duty, 
and to exhaust their strength in laborious efforts : or used 
to change their method, trying in turn first one plan then 
another^ — a course which involved a tedious waste of time 
and of energy. 

3. Of students, who may master the sciences without 
difficulty, tedium, complaints, or blows, as if in sport and 
in merriment. 

4. Of schools, which, when the method has been 
established, will be not only preserved continuously in full 
vigour, but increased without limit. For they will indeed 
become places of amusement, houses of delights and 
attractions, and since (on account of the infallibility of the 
method) each student, of whatever capacity, will become 
a doctor (of a higher or lower grade), it will never be 

19 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



possible for a dearth of suitable school-teachers to arise, or 
for learning not to flourish. 

5. Of states, according to the testimony of Cicero. 
With whom agrees that of Diogenes the Pythagorean (to 
be found in Stobseus^^). For what is the foundation of 
the whole state? Surely, the development of the young. 
Since vines that have not been well cultivated will not bear 
good fruit. 

6. Of the Church, since the proper organisation of 
schools alone can bring it about that the churches shall 
never lack learned doctors, and that learned doctors shall 
never lack suitable hearers. 

7. And lastly, it is to the advantage of heaven that 
schools should be reformed for the exact and universal 
culture of the intellect, that those whom the sound of the 
divine trumpet is unable to stir up may be the more easily 
freed from darkness by the brilliancy of the divine light. 
For, although the Gospel be preached everywhere (and we 
hope that it will be preached to the ends of the earth), 
still the same thing is apt to happen as takes place in any 
meeting- place, tavern, or other tumultuous gathering of 
men, that not he alone is heard or gains particular atten- 
tion who brings forward the best things, but that each one 
occupies with his own trifles the man near whom he 
happens to sit or to stand. Thus it comes to pass in the 
world. Though the ministers of the World fulfil their duty 
with great zeal; though they talk, orate, exhort, testify, 
they none the less remain unheard by the greater part of 
mankind. For many never go to religious meetings except 
by chance ; others come with their ears and eyes closed, 
and, as their minds are occupied with other matters, 
pay little attention to what is taking place. And lastly, 
if they do attend and grasp the purport of the sacred 
exhortation, they are not so greatly affected by it as they 
should be, since the accustomed sluggishness of their 
minds, and the evil habits that they have acquired, blunt, 
bewitch, and harden them, so that they are unable to free 
themselves from their old custom. And thus they stick 



USE OF THE ART OF TEACHING 



fast in their habitual blindness and sin, as if bound so firmly 
by chains that none but God Himself could free them 
from their ingrained perverseness. As one of the fathers 
has said, it is very near a miracle if an inveterate sinner 
be converted to repentance. Now, as in other matters, 
so in this ; where God supplies means, to ask for a 
miracle is to tempt Him. Let us therefore consider it 
our duty to meditate on the means by which the whole 
Christian youth may be more fervidly stirred up to vigour 
of mind and love of heavenly things. If we can attain 
this we shall see the kingdom of heaven spread more and 
more, as of old. 

Let none therefore withdraw his thoughts, desires, 
strength, or resources from such a sacred undertaking. He 
who has given the will, will also grant its fulfilment, and 
we ought without exception to demand this with good 
heart from the divine mercy. For the salvation of man 
and the glory of the Most High is at stake. 

JoH. Val. Andrew. 

P.S. — It is inglorious to despair of progress, and wrong 
to despise the counsel of others. 



SUBJECTS OF THE CHAPTERS 

PAGE 

I. Man is the highest, the most absolute, and the -'^ 
most excellent of things created ' . .25 

II. The ultimate end of man is beyond this life . 27 

III. This life is but a preparation for eternity 32 

IV. There are three stages in the preparation for -^ 

eternity : to know oneself (and with oneself » 

all things) ; to rule oneself ; and to direct 
oneself to God . . . .36 

V. The seeds of these three (learning, virtue, 

religion) are naturally implanted in us . 40 

VI. If a man is to be produced, it is necessary that " 

he be formed by education . . .52 

VII. A man can most easily be formed in early youth, 
and cannot be formed properly except at this 
age . . . - . . 57 

VIII. The young must be educated in common, and 

for this schools are necessary . .61 

IX. All the young of both sexes should be sent to 

school . . . . .66 

X. The instruction given in schools should be 

universal • • ■ . . 70" 

22 



SUBJECTS OF THE CHAPTERS 23 

PAGE 

XI. Hitherto there have been no perfect schools 76 

XII. It is possible to reform schools . 81 

XIII. The basis of school reform must be exact 

order in all things . . . -93 

XIV. The exact order of instruction must be 

borrowed from nature . . -98 

.XV. The basis of the prolongation of life . .104 

XVI. The universal requirements of teaching and of 
learning ;_ that is to say, a method of teach- 
ing and of learning with such certainty that 
the desired result must of necessity follow . 1 1 1 

XVII. The principles of facility in teaching and in 

learning . . ^ . . 127 

XVIII. The principles of thoroughness in teaching 

and in learning . . . .142 

XIX. The principles of conciseness and rapidity in 

teaching . . . . \ 1 60 

XX. The method of the sciences, specifically ' .183 

XXI. The method of the arts . . . 194 

XXII. The method of languages . . 203 

XXIII. The method of morals . . 2n 

XXI V. The method of instilling piety . . 218 
XXV. If we wish to reform schools In accordance 

with the laws of true Christianity, we must 
remove from them books written by pagans, 
or, at any rate, must use them with more 
caution than hitherto . . .231 

XXVI. Of school discipline ... 249 



24 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

PAGE 

XXVII. Of the fourfold division of schools, based 

on age and acquirements . . .255 

XXVIII. Sketch of the Mother-School . . 259 

XXIX. Sketch of the Vernacular-School 266 

XXX. Sketch of the Latin-School 274 

XXXI. Of the University, of travelling students, of 

the College of Light . . .281 

XXXII. Of the universal and perfect order of in- 
struction . . . .287 
XXXIII. Of the things requisite before this universal 

method can be put into practice . .295 



CHAPTER I 

MAN IS THE HIGHEST, THE MOST ABSOLUTE, AND THE 
MOST EXCELLENT OF THINGS CREATED 

I. When Pittacus^^ of old gave to the world his saying 
" Know thyself," the sentiment was received by the wise 
with so much approval, that, in order to impress it on the 
people, they declared that it had fallen from heaven, and 
caused it to be written in golden letters on the temple of 
the Delphic Apollo, where great assemblies of men used 
to collect. Their action was prudent and wise ; but their 
statement was false. It was, however, in the interests of 
truth, and is of great importance to us. 

2. For what is the voice from heaven that resounds in 
the Scriptures but " Know thyself, O man, and know Me.'' 
Me the source of eternity, of wisdom and of grace ; thyself, 
My creation. My likeness. My delight. 

3. For I have destined thee to be the companion of 
My eternity ; for thy use I designed the heaven, the earth 
and all that in them is ; to thee alone I gave all those 
things in conjunction, which to the rest of creation I gave 
but singly, namely. Existence, Vitality, Sense, and Reason. 
I have made thee to have dominion over the works of My 
hands. I have placed all things under thy feet, sheep 
and oxen and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air 
and the fish of the sea, and I have crowned thee with 
glory and with honour (Psalm viii.) To thee, finally, lest 
anything should be lacking, I have given Myself in personal 
communion, joining My nature to thine for eternity, and 

25 



26 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

in this distinguishing thee from all created things, visible 
and invisible. For what creature in heaven or in earth 
can boast that God was manifest in his flesh and was seen 
of angels (i Tim. iii. i6), not, forsooth, that they might 
only see and marvel at Him whom they desired to see 
(i Peter i. 12), but that they might adore God made 
manifest in the flesh, the son of God and of man (Hebrews 
i. 6; John i. 51 ; Matthew iv. 11). Know therefore that 
thou art the corner-stone and epitome of My works, the 
representative of God among them, the crown of My glory. 
4. Would that this were inscribed, not on the doors of 
temples, not on the title-pages of books, not on the 
tongues, ears, and eyes of all men, but on their hearts ! 
Would that this could be done to all who undertake the 
task of educating men, that they might learn to appreciate 
the dignity of the task, and of their own excellence, and 
might bring all means to bear on the perfect realisation of 
their divinity ! 



CHAPTER II 

THE ULTIMATE END OF MAN IS BEYOND THIS LIFE 

I. Reason itself dictates that such a perfect creature is 
destined to a higher end than all other creatures, that of 
being united with God, the culmination of all perfection, 
glory, and happiness, and of enjoying with Him absolute 
glory and happiness for ever. 

2. Now although this is clear from Scripture, and we 
stedfastly believe that it is the truth, it will be no loss of 
time if we lightly touch on the various ways in which God 
has indicated that our destination lies beyond this life. 

3. First, in the creation itself; for He did not simply 
command man to exist, as He did the rest of His creatures ; 
but, after solemn consideration, He formed a body for him 
with His own fingers and breathed the soul into it from 
Himself. 

4. Our nature shows that this life is not sufiScient for 
us. For here we live a threefold life, the vegetative, the 
animal, and the intellectual or spiritual. Of these the 
action of the first is confined to the body, the second can 
extend itself to objects by the operation of the senses and 
of movement, while the third is able to exist separately, as 
is evident in the case of angels. So that, as it is evident 
that this, the last stage of life, is greatly overshadowed and 
hindered in us by the two former, it follows of necessity 
that there will be a future state in which it may be brought 
to perfection. 

27 



28 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

5. All our actions and affections in this life show that 
we do not attain our ultimate end here, but that every- 
thing connected with us, as well as we ourselves, has 
another destination. For whatever we are, do, think, 
speak, contrive, acquire, or possess, contains a principle of 
gradation, and, though we mount perpetually and attain 
higher grades, we still continue to advance and never reach 
the highest. 

For in the beginning a man is nothing, and has been 
non-existent from eternity. It is from his mother's womb 
that he takes his origin. What then is a man in the 
beginning ? Nothing but an unformed mass endowed with 
vitality. This soon assumes the outlines of a human body, 
but has, as yet, neither sense nor movement. 

Later on it begins to move and by a natural process 
bursts forth into the world. Gradually the eyes, ears, and 
other organs of sense appear. In course of time the 
internal senses develope and the child perceives that he 
sees, hears, and feels. Then the intellect comes into 
existence by cognising the differences between objects ; 
while, finally, the will assumes the office of a guiding 
principle by displaying desire for certain objects and 
aversion for others. 

6. But in all these individual points of progress we find 
nothing but succession. For the intelligence that under- 
lies matter makes itself seen by degrees, like a ray of 
dawn shining through the darkness of night, and, as long 
as life remains, there is a continual access of light, unless 
a man become utterly brutish. Thus our actions are at 
first weak, unformed and confused ; then the virtues of 
the mind unfold themselves proportionately to the forces 
of the body, so that as long as we live (unless the greatest 
lethargy take possession of us and bury us alive) we are 
continually exercising our faculties. 

In a worthy mind all these functions tend to a higher 
development, nor can we find any end of the things that 
we desire or wish to accomplish. 

7. In whatever direction a man turns he may perceive 



MAN'S END IS BEYOND THIS LIFE 29 

this experimentally. If any have an excessive desire for 
riches he will not find anything that can satisfy his greed, 
though he possess the whole world ; as was evident in the 
case of Alexander. If any burn with desire for honour 
he will not be able to rest though the whole world adore 
him. 

If any give himself over to pleasure, rivers of delight 
may bathe all his senses, but he becomes accustomed to 
them, and his appetite continues to desire one thing after 
another. If any apply his mind to the study of wisdom 
he will find no end ; for the more a man knows, the more 
he realises his ignorance. Rightly did Solomon say that 
the eye could not grow tired of seeing or the ear of 
hearing. 

8. Indeed, the examples of those who die teach us that 
death does not put the last touch to existence. For those 
whose life has been righteous rejoice that they are to enter 
on a better one ; while those who are filled with love of 
the present life, seeing that they must leave it and migrate 
elsewhere, begin to tremble and to reconcile themselves 
with God and man, if by any chance this be still possible. 
And, although the body, broken down by pain, grows faint, 
the senses become clouded, and life itself slips away, the 
mind fulfils its functions more vividly than ever, as we see 
when a man circumspectly summons his family and heirs 
about his death-bed. So that he who sees a pious and 
wise man dying sees nothing but the structure of clay 
falling asunder; he who listens to him hears an angel's 
voice and cannot but confess that the dweller is only taking 
his departure while the house falls to ruin about him. 
Even the heathen understood this, so that the Romans, 
according to Festus,^* called death abitio, and with the 
Greeks, otx^a-dai, which signifies "to go away," is frequently 
used instead of "to die" and "to perish." This can 
only be because by "death" nothing is understood but 
transition to another life. 

9. This is all the more evident to us Christians, now 
that Christ, the Son of the living God, has been sent from 



30 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

heaven to regenerate in us the image of God. For having 
been conceived of a woman He walked among men ; then, 
having died, He rose again and ascended into heaven, 
nor had death any more dominion over Him. Now He 
has been called "our forerunner" (Hebr. vi. 20), "the 
firstborn among his brethren" (Rom. viii. 30), "the head 
over all things" (Ephes. i. 22), and the archetype of 
all who are to be formed in the image of God (Rom. 
viii. 29). As then, He did not visit this earth in order 
to remain on it, but that, when His course was run, He 
might pass to the eternal mansions ; so we also, His com- 
panions, must pass on and must not make this our abiding- 
place. 

10. To each of us, then, his life and his abiding-place 
is threefold. The mother's womb, the earth, and the 
heaven. From the first into the second he passes by 
nativity, and from the second into the third by death and 
resurrection. From the third he makes no move, but rests 
there for all eternity. 

In the first stage we find life in its simplicity, with the 
commencement of movement and of feeling. In the 
second we have life, motion, sense, and the elements of 
intellect. In the third we find the full plenitude of all. 

11. The first Hfe is preparatory to the second, and the 
second to the third, while the third exists for itself and 
is without end. The transition from the first into the 
second and from the second into the third, is narrow and 
accompanied by pain ; and in both cases some covering 
or surrounding must be laid aside (in the first case the 
after-birth, in the second the body itself), just as the egg- 
shell is discarded when a chicken is hatched. Thus the 
first and second abiding-places are like workshops in 
which are formed, in the first the body, for use in the 
following life ; in the second the rational soul, for use in 
the life everlasting. In the third abiding-place the per- 
fection and fruition of both will be realised. 

12. Thus (to use them as a type) were the Israehtes 
born in Egypt. Thence, through the passes of the 



MAN^S END IS BEYOND THIS LIFE 31 

mountains and through the Red Sea, they were brought 
into the desert. They built temples, they learned the law, 
they fought with various tribes, and, at length, having 
with difficulty crossed the Jordan, they were made heirs of 
Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey. 



CHAPTER III 

THIS LIFE IS BUT A PREPARATION FOR ETERNITY 

I. That this life, since its destination is elsewhere, is not 
(properly speaking) a life at all, but only the prelude to a 
real and everlasting existence, will be evident, firstly, from 
the witness of our own selves, secondly, from the world, 
and, thirdly, from the Holy Scriptures. 

2. If we examine ourselves, we see that our faculties 
grow in such a manner that what goes before paves the 
way for what comes after. For example, our first life 
is in our mother's womb. But for the sake of what does 
it exist? of the life itself? Not at all. The process that 
here takes place is intended to form the embryo into the 
suitable abiding-place and instrument of the soul, for con- 
venient use in the life on earth which follows. As soon 
as this preparation is finished we burst forth into the 
light because in this stage no further development is 
possible. In the same way, this life on earth is nothing 
but a preparation for eternity, and exists in order that the 
soul, through the agency of the body, may prepare for 
itself those things which will be of use in the future life. 
As soon as this is accomplished we go hence, because 
further undertakings are of no avail. Many of us, also, are 
snatched away unprepared or are hurled to destruction, 
just as abortive embryos are produced from the womb, 
destined not for life but for death. In each of which cases 

32 



L " 

LIFE A PREPARATION FOR ETERNITY 33 

God, it is true, gives His permission, but man is the guilty 
cause. 

3. Tiie visible world itself, from whatever point of 
view we regard it, bears witness that it has been created for 
no other end than that it may serve for the progeneration, 
the nutrition, and the training of the human race. For 
as it pleased God not to create all men at the same 
moment, as was done with the angels, but only a male 
and a female who should increase by generation ; and, as 
a sufficient length of time was necessary for this purpose. 
He granted some thousands of years. And in order that 
this period might not be confused, silent, and dark. He 
spread forth the heavens and placed in them the sun, the 
moon, and the stars, and commanded these, by circling 
round, to measure out the hours, the days, the months, 
and the years. Further, because the beings whose birth 
was contemplated were corporeal and needed a place to 
dwell in, space to breathe and move in, food to nourish 
them, and clothing to adorn them, He constructed in 
the lowest part of the firmament a solid substratum, the 
earth. Around this He poured the air. He irrigated it 
with waters, and bade plants and animals of various kinds 
to spring forth ; and this not only to supply necessary 
wants, but also to promote enjoyment. And because He 
had made man in His own image and had given him a 
mind, in order that its proper nutrition might not be 
wanting to that mind, He divided each class of creatures 
into many species, that this visible universe might be a 
continual mirror of the infinite power, wisdom, and good- 
ness of God, and that by its contemplation man might be 
compelled to marvel at the Creator, moved to recognise 
Him, and enticed to love Him, when the might, the 
beauty, and the sweetness that lie invisible in the abyss of 
eternity shone out on all sides through these visible mani- 
festations, and suffered themselves to be handled, seen, and 
tasted. Thus the world is nothing but our nursery, our 
nurturing place, and our school, and there is, therefore, a 
place beyond, whither we shall be transferred when we are 

3 



34 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

dismissed from the classes of this school and are sent to 
that university which is everlasting. Reason alone makes 
this truth manifest, but it is more plainly visible in the 
divine oracles. 

4. God Himself testifies in Hosea that the heavens exist 
for the sake of the earth, the earth that it may produce 
corn, wine, and oil, and these in turn for man (Hosea ii. 
21, 22). All things therefore, even time itself, exist for 
the sake of man. For no longer a duration of time will be 
granted than is necessary to fill up the number of the 
elect (Rev. vi. 11). As soon as this is accomplished the 
heavens and the earth will pass away and the place shall 
know them no more (Rev. xi. i). For a new heaven 
and a new earth will appear, in which justice shall dwell 
(Rev. xxi. I ; 2 Peter iii. 13). And finally, the way in 
which the Scriptures speak of this life show that it is 
nothing but the preparation for that to come. For they 
call it a way, a progress, a gate, and an expectation, while 
us they call pilgrims, newcomers, sojourners, and lookers 
forward to another and lasting state (Gen. xlvii. 9 ; Psalm 
xxxix. 12 ; Job vii. 10; Luke xii. 33). 

5. Now this we are taught by the facts themselves and 
by the manifest condition of all men. For what mortal 
has ever existed who, having been born, has not dis- 
appeared again from the earth, since we have been 
destined for eternity. This being the case, it follows that 
our state here is one of transition. Whence Christ says, 
" Therefore be ye also ready, for in an hour that ye think 
not the Son of Man cometh " (Matt. xxiv. 44). And this 
is the reason (as we learn from Scripture) that God calls 
some hence in early youth; for He sees that they are 
ready, as was Enoch (Gen. v. 24 ; Wisdom iv. 14). Why, 
on the other hand, does He show such long-suffering 
toward the wicked ? Because He does not wish that any 
should be overtaken unprepared, but that he should repent 
(2 Peter iii. 9). If, however, any man abuse the patience 
of God, He bids him be snatched away. 

6. As, then, it is certain that our sojourn in our mother's 



LIFE A PREPARATION FOR ETERNITY 35 

womb is a preparation for the life in the body, so certain 
is it that our sojourn in the body is a preparation for the 
life which shall follow this one, and shall endure for ever. 
Happy is he who leaves his mother's womb with limbs 
well formed ! Happier a thousand times is the man who 
shall bear his soul hence in purity and cleanhness. 



CHAPTER IV 

THERE ARE THREE STAGES IN THE PREPARATION FOR 
ETERNITY : TO KNOW ONESELF (aND WITH ONESELF 
ALL things); to RULE ONESELF; AND TO DIRECT 
ONESELF TO GOD. 

I. It is evident, then, that the ultimate end of man is 
eternal happiness with God. The subordinate ends, also, 
at which we aim in this transitory life, are evident from the 
words of the divine soliloquy which the Creator uttered 
when about to make man. " Let us make man," He said, 
" in our image, after our likeness ; and let them have 
dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of 
the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and 
over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" 
(Gen. i. 26). 

2. From which it is plain that man is situated among 
visible creatures so as to be 

(i.) A rational creature. 

(ii.) The Lord of all creatures. 

(iii.) A creature which is the image and the joy of its 
Creator. 

These three aspects are so joined together that they 
cannot be separated, for in them is laid the basis of the 
future and of the present life. 

3. To be a rational creature is to name all things, and 
to speculate and reason about everything that the world 
contains, as we find it in Gen. ii. 19, or, in the words of 

36 



THREE STAGES OF PREPARATION 37 

Solomon (Wisdom vii. 17), to know how the world was 
made and the operation of the elements ; the beginning, 
ending, and midst of the times ; the alterations of the 
turning of the sun, and the change of seasons ; the circuits 
of years and the positions of stars ; the natures of living 
things and the furies of wild beasts ; the violence of winds 
and the reasonings of men ; the diversities of plants and 
the virtues of roots ; in a word, everything that is secret 
and that is manifest. To man belong the knowledge of 
handicrafts and the art of speaking, lest (as says the son 
of Sirach) anything should remain unknown, be it small 
or great, in any department of knowledge (Eccles. v. 12). 
For thus, if he know the properties of all things, will he be 
able to justify his title of "rational being." 

4. To be the lord of all creatures consists in subjecting 
everything to his own use by contriving that its legitimate 
end be suitably fulfilled; in conducting himself royally, 
that is, gravely and righteously, among creatures (adoring 
only one above him, his Creator ; recognising God's angels, 
man's fellow-servants, as his equals, and considering all 
other things as far beneath him). Thus will he preserve 
the dignity which has been granted to him. He should 
enslave himself to no creature, not even to his own flesh 
and blood ; but should use all freely in his service, and not 
be ignorant where, when, how, and to what extent each 
may prudently be used, how far the body should be 
gratified, and how far our neighbour's interests should be 
consulted. In a w ord, he should be able to control with 
prudence his own'movemenEs~~Sn3 acttous,' eAiernal~and 
mternai, as welTas lTiose"or5flrefgr~" ■"■ 

5;— Finaily;- to-be" the 'image~or God is to represent 
the perfection of his Archetype, who says Himself "Ye 
shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy " (Lev. 
xix. 2). ' 

6. From this it follows that man is naturally required 
to be: (i) acquainted with all things; (2) endowed with 
power over all things and over himself; (3) to refer himself 
and all things to God, the source of all. 



38 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

Now, if we wish to express these three things by three 
well-known words, these will be : 

(i.) Erudition. 

(ii.) Virtue or seemly morals. 

(iii.) Religion or piety. 
Under Erudition we comprehend the knowledge of all 
things, arts, and tongues ; under Virtue, not only external 
decorum, but the whole disposition of our movements, 
internal and external; while by Religion we understand j 
that inner venerati on_by which the mind of man attaches/ 
and binds itself to the supreme Godhead. 

7. In these three things is situated the whole excellence 
of man, for they alone are the foundation of the present 
and of the future life. All other things (health, strength, 
beauty, riches, honour, friendship, good-fortune, long life) 
are as nothing, if God grant them to any, but extrinsic 
ornaments of life, and if a man greedily gape after them, 
engross himself in their pursuit, occupy and overwhelm 
himself with them to the neglect of those more important 
matters, then they become superfluous vanities and harmful 
obstructions. 

8. To illustrate the matter by an example. The time- 
piece (either the sun-dial or the mechanical clock) is an 
elegant and very necessary instrument for measuring time, 
and its essential excellence depends on the accurate joining 
together of all its parts. The case which is added, the 
chasings, the engravings, and the gildings are accessories 
which add something to its external appearance, but 
nothing to its utility. Were any to prefer a handsome 
clock to a good one, men would laugh at him for not 
realising in what the essential excellence of the object con- 
sisted. In the same way, the value of a horse consists in 
its strength, combined with spirit, speed, and promptness 
in obeying its rider's wishes. A fiowing tail or one tied 
in a knot, hair combed and standing erect, gilded bits, 
gay coverings, and trappings of whatever kind, add decora- 
tive beauty, it is true, yet we call a man a fool if we see 
that he measures a horse's excellence by them. 



THREE STAGES OF PREPARATION 39 

Finally, a sound condition of health depends on the 
proper cooking of food, and on our digestive organs being 
in good order. To sleep softly, to dress well, and to fare 
delicately, add nothing to our health, but rather detract 
from it, and therefore a man is a fool who prefers dainties 
to wholesome viands. But much more, and to his own 
damnation, is that man a fool who, wishing to be a man, 
gives more heed to the ornaments than to the essentials of 
human existence. The Preacher, therefore, pronounces 
those ignorant and impious who think that our life is a 
pastime or a simple pursuit of wealth, and says that the 
praise and the blessing of God is very far from them 
(Wisdom XV. 12, 19). 

g. It follows, therefore, that we advance towards our 
ultimate end in proportion as we pursue Learning, Virtue, 
and Piety in this world. 

These three are undoubtedly the main issues of our life ; 
all else are side channels, hindrances, or ornamentations. 



CHAPTER V 

THE SEEDS OF THESE THREE (LEARNING, VIRTUE, AND 

piety) are naturally implanted in US 

I. By the word nature we mean, not the corruption which 
has laid hold of all men since the Fall (on which account 
we are naturally called the children of wrath, unable of 
ourselves to have any good thoughts), but our first and 
original condition, to which, as to a starting-point, we must 
be recalled. It was in this sense that Ludovicus Vives ^^ 
said, "What else is a Christian but a man restored to his 
own nature, and, as it were, brought back to the starting- 
point from which the devil has thrown him?" (Lib. i. De 
Concordia et Discordid). In this sense, too, must we take 
the words of Seneca, " This is wisdom, to return to nature 
and to the position from which universal error (that is to 
say, the error of the human race, originated by the first 
men) has driven us," and again, " Man is not good but 
becomes so, as, mindful of his origin, he strives toward 
equality with God. No man who is viciously inclined 
ventures the ascent towards the place whence he de 
scended " {Epist. 93). 

2. By the voice of nature we understand the universal 
Providence of God or the influence of Divine Goodness 
which never ceases to work all in all things ; that is to 
say, which continually developes each creature for the end 
to which it has been destined. For it is a sign of the 
divine wisdom to do nothing in vain, that is to say, without 
a definite end or without means proportionate to that end. 

40 



MAN'S NATURAL CRAVING FOR KNOWLEDGE 41 

Whatever exists, therefore, exists for some end, and has 
been provided with the organs and appliances necessary to 
attain to it. It has also been gifted with a certain inclina- 
tion, that nothing may be borne towards its end unwillingly 
and reluctantly, but rather promptly and pleasantly, by 
the natural instinct that pain and death will ensue if any 
obstacle be placed in the way. And so it is certain that 
man also is naturally fitted for the understanding of facts, 
for existence in harmony with the moral law, and above all 
things for the love of God (since for these we have already 
seen that he is destined), and that the roots of these three 
principles are as firmly planted in him as are the roots of 
any tree in the earth beneath it. 

3. In order, therefore, that we may thoroughly understand 
the saying of the son of Sirach, that Wisdom has placed 
everlasting foundations in man (Ecclesiasticus i. 14), let us 
examine the foundations of Wisdom, of Virtue, and of 
Piety, which have been laid in us, that we may see what 
a marvellous instrument of wisdom man is. 

4. It is evident that man is naturally capable of acquir- 
ing a knowledge of all things, since, in the first place, he is 
the image of God. For an image, if it be accurate, neces- 
sarily reproduces the outKnes of its archetype, as otherwise 
it will not be an image. Now omniscience is chief among 
the properties of God, and it follows that the image of this 
must be reflected in man. And why not ? Man, in truth, 
stands in the centre of the works of God and possesses 
a lucid mind, which, like a spherical mirror suspended in a 
room, reflects images of all things that are around it. All 
things that are around it, we say ; for our mind not only 
seizes on ^tlyngs- that are close at hand, but also on things 
that are far off, whether in space or in time ; it masters 
difficulties, hunts out what is concealed, uncovers what is 
veiled, and wears itself out in examining what is inscrut- 
able; so infinite and so unbounded is its power. If a 
thousand years were granted to man, in which, by grasp- 
ing one thing after another, he might continually learn 
something fresh, he would still find some spot from which 



42 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

the understanding might gain fresh objects of know- 
ledge. 

So unlimited is the capacity of the mind that in the 
process of perception it resembles an abyss. The body is 
enclosed by small boundaries ; the voice roams within 
wider limits ; the sight is bounded only by the vault of 
heaven ; but for the mind, neither in heaven nor anywhere 
outside heaven, can a boundary be fixed. It ascends as 
far over the heavens above as below the depths beneath, 
and would do so if they were even a thousand times more 
vast than they are ; for it penetrates through space with 
incredible speed. Shall we then deny that it can fathom 
and grasp all things ? 

5. Philosophers have called man a Microcosm or Epi- 
tome of the Universe, since he inwardly comprehends all 
the elements that are spread far and wide through the 
Macrocosm, or world at large ; a statement the truth of 
which is shown elsewhere. The mind, therefore, of a man 
who enters this world is very justly compared to a seed 
or to a kernel in which the plant or tree really does exist, 
although its image cannot actually be seen. This is evi- 
dent ; since the seed, if placed in the ground, puts forth 
roots beneath it and shoots above it, and these, later on, 
by their innate force, spread into branches and leaves, are 
covered with foliage, and adorned with flowers and fruit. 
It is not necessary, therefore, that anything be brought to 
a man from without, but only that that which he possesses 
rolled up within himself be unfolded and disclosed, and 
that stress be laid on each separate element. Thus Pytha- 
goras used to say that it was so natural for a man to be 
possessed of all knowledge, that a boy of seven years old, 
if prudently questioned on all the problems of philosophy, 
ought to be able to give a correct answer to each interro- 
gation ; since the light of Reason is a sufficient standard 
and measure of all things. Still it is true that, since the 
Fall, Reason has become obscure and involved, and does 
not know how to set itself free ; while those who ought to 
have done so have rather entangled it the more. 



MAN'S NATURAL CRAVING FOR KNOWLEDGE 43 

6. To the rational soul, that dwells within us, organs of 
sense have been supplied, which may be compared to 
emissaries and scouts, and by the aid of these it compasses 
all that lies without. These are sight, hearing, smell, sound, 
and touch, and there is nothing whatever that can escape 
their notice. For, since there is nothing in the visible 
universe which cannot be seen, heard, smelt, tasted, or 
touched, and the kind and quality of which cannot in this 
way be discerned, it follows that there is nothing in the 
universe which cannot be compassed by a man endowed 
with sense and reason. 

7. In addition to the desire for knowledge that is im- 
planted in him, man is imbued not merely with a tolerance 
of but with an actual appetite for toil. This is evident in 
earliest childhood, and accompanies us throughout life. For 
who is there that does not always desire to see, hear, or 
handle something new ? To whom is it not a pleasure to 
go to some new place daily, to converse with some one, to 
narrate something, or have some fresh experience ? In a 
word, the eyes, the ears, the sense of touch, the mind itself, 
are, in their search for food, ever carried beyond them- 
selves ; for to an active nature nothing is so intolerable as 
ease and sloth. Even the fact that the ignorant admire 
learned men is but a sign that they feel the promptings 
of a certain natural desire. For they would wish them- 
selves to be partakers of this wisdom, could they deem it 
possible. But, since they despair, they only sigh, and 
marvel at those whom they see in advance of them. 

8. The examples of those who are self-taught show us 
most plainly that man, under the guidance of nature, can 
penetrate to a knowledge of all things. Many have made 
greater progress under their own tuition, or (as Bernard ^'^ 
says) with oaks and beeches for their teachers, than others 
have done under the irksome instruction of tutors. Does 
not this teach us that, in very truth, all things exist in 
man ; that the lamp, the oil, the tinder, and all the 
appliances are there, and that if only he be sufficiently 
skilled to strike sparks, to catch them, and to kindle the 



44 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

lamp, he can forthwith see and can reap the fullest enjoy- 
ment of the marvellous treasures of God's wisdom, both m 
himself and in the larger world ; that is to say, can appreciate 
the numerical and proportional arrangement of the whole 
creation. Now, when the internal lamp is not lit, but the 
torches of strange opinions are carried round without, the 
effect must be as if lights were carried round a man shut 
up in a dark dungeon ; the rays indeed penetrate the 
chinks, but the full light is unable to enter. Thus, as 
Seneca says: "The seeds of all arts are implanted in us, 
and God the master brings forth intellect from the darkness." 

9. The things to which our minds may be likened 
teach the same lesson. For the earth (with which the 
Scriptures often compare our heart) receives seeds of every 
description. One and the same garden can be sown with 
herbs, with flowers, and with aromatic plants of every kind, 
if only the gardener lack not prudence and industry. And 
the greater the variety, the pleasanter the sight to the eyes, 
the sweeter the attraction to the nose, and the more potent 
the refreshment to the heart. Aristotle compared the 
mind of man to a blank tablet on which nothing was 
written, but on which all things could be engraved. And, 
just as a writer can write or a painter paint whatever he 
wishes on a bare tablet, if he be_ not ignorant of his art, thus 
it is easy for one who is not ignorant of the art of teaching 
to depict all things on the human mind. If the result be 
not successful, it is more than certain that this is not the 
fault of the tablet (unless it have some inherent defect), but 
arises from ignorance on the part of the writer or painter. 
There is, however, this difference, that on the tablet the 
writing is limited by space, while, in the case of the mind, 
you may continually go on writing and engraving without 
finding any boundary, because, as has already been shown, 
the mind is without limit. 

10. Again, the comparison of our brain, the workshop 
of thought, to wax which either receives the impress of a 
seal, or furnishes the material for small images, is an apt 
one. For just as wax, taking every form, allows itself to be 



MAN'S NATURAL CRAVING FOR KNOWLEDGE 45 

modelled and remodelled in any desired way, so the brain,! 
receiving the images of all things, takes into itself whatever ' 
is contained in the whole universe. This comparison 
throws a remarkable light on the true nature of thought 
and of knowledge. Whatever makes an impression on my 
organ of sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, stands to me 
in the relation of a seal by which the image of the object 
is impressed upon my brain. So true is this simile that 
when the object is removed from my eyes, my ears, my 
nostrils, or my hand, its image still remains iaefore me ; 
nor is it possible that it should not remain, unless my 
attention has wandered and the impression has been a 
weak one. For example, if I have seen or spoken to any 
one ; if, when taking a journey, I have seen a mountain, 
a river, a field, a wood, or a town, or if I have read any- 
thing attentively in some author, all these things are im- 
printed on the brain, so that, as often as the recollection 
of them comes into my mind, the effect is the same as if I 
were actually seeing them with my eyes, hearing them with 
my ears, tasting them, or feeling them. And although of 
these impressions the brain places one before the other or 
receives some more distinctly and vividly than others, it 
still, in some way or other, receives, represents, and retains 
them all. 

II. Here we have mirrored before us the marvellous 
wisdom of God, who was able to arrange that the small 
mass of our brains should be sufficient to receive so many 
thousands of images. For, if the particulars can be 
remembered of anything that any of us (and this applies 
particularly to men of learning) have, many years before, 
seen, heard, tasted, read, or collected by experience or by 
reasoning, it is evident that these details must be carried 
in the brain. Yet it is a fact that'images of objects formerly 
seen, heard, or read of, of which thousands of thousands 
and many more exist, and which are daily multiplied as 
we daily see, hear, read, or experience something new, are 
all carefully stored up. What inscrutable wisdom and 
power of God lies here ? Solomon wonders that all rivers 



46 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

run into the sea, and that yet the sea is not full (Eccles. i. 
7), and who will not marvel at this abyss of memory which 
exhausts all things, which gives all back again, and yet is 
never overfull or too void ? In truth our mind is greater 
than the universe, since that which contains is necessarily 
greater than that which is contained. 

12. Finally, the eye (or a mirror) resembles the mind 
in many ways. If you hold anything before it, of whatever 
shape or colour, it will soon display a similar image in itself. 
That is to say, unless you are in the dark, or turn your 
back, or are too far off, at a distance greater than is fitting, 
or hinder the impression, or confuse it by movement ; for 
in these cases it must be confessed that the result will be 
failure. I speak, therefore, of what takes place naturally, 
when light is present and the object is suitably placed. 
Just as, then, there is no need for the eye to be compelled 
to open and look at any object, since, naturally thirsting 
for light, it rejoices to be fed by gazing, and suffices for all 
objects (provided that it be not confused by too many at 
once), and just as it can never be satiated by seeing, so 
does the mind thirst for objects, ever longs and yearns 
to observe, grasps at, nay, seizes on all information, and 
is indefatigable, provided that it be not surfeited with 
an excess of objects, and that they be presented to its 
observation one after the other, and in the proper order. 

13. Even the heathen philosophers saw that a harmony 
of morals was necessary for man, although, being ignorant 
of that other light granted by heaven, which is the most 
certain guide to eternal life, they set up these sparks as 
torches ; a vain endeavour. Thus Cicero says : " The 
seeds of virtue are sown in our dispositions, and, if they 
were allowed to develope, nature herself would lead us to 
the life of the blest." Th'is goes rather too far ! " Now, 
however, from the time when we are brought forth to the 
light of day, we continually move in all wickedness, so that 
we almost seem to suck in faults with our nurse's milk " 
(Tuscul. iii.). Thus the truth of the statement that the 
seeds of virtue are born with man is bound up with this 



MAN'S NATURAL CRAVING FOR KNOWLEDGE 47 

twofold argument: (i) every man delights in harmony; 
(2) man himself, externally and internally, is nothing but a 
harmony. 

14. That man delights in harmony and pursues it 
greedily, is obvious. For who does not take pleasure in a 
well-made man, an elegant horse, a beautiful portrait, or a 
charming picture ? And what is the reason of this if not 
that the proportion of the parts and of the colours is a 
source of enjoyment? This pleasure of the eye is very 
natural. Again, who is not affected by music ? and why ? 
Because a harmony of voices makes a pleasing consonance. 
To whom does well-flavoured food not taste good ? For 
the proper mixing of the flavours tickles the palate. 
Every man rejoices in moderate heat, in moderate cold, 
in the moderate inactivity or motion of the limbs. Why ? 
if not because everything that is harmonised is congenial 
and lifegiving to nature, while everything that lacks modera- 
tion is hostile and harmful to her. 

Even the virtues of others are a source of admiration 
to some people (for those devoid of them like them in 
others ; though they may not imitate them, thinking good 
habits impossible to acquire when once vice has got the 
upper hand). Why then should not each man like them 
in himself? Surely we are blind if we do not recognise 
that we all have within us the roots of harmony. 

15. Indeed, man is nothing but a harmony, both in 
respect of his body and of his mind. For, just as the 
great world itself is like an immense piece of clockwork 
put together with many wheels and bells, and arranged 
with such art that throughout the whole structure one part 
depends on the other, and the movements are perpetuated 
and harmonised ; thus it is with man. The body is indeed 
constructed with wonderful skill. First of all comes the 
heart, the source of all life and action, from which the 
other members receive motion and the measurement of 
motion. The weight, the eflScient cause of motion, is the 
brain, which by the help of the nerves, as of ropes, 
attracts and repels the other wheels or limbs, while the 



48 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

variety of operations within and without depends on the 
commensurate proportion of the movements. 

1 6. In the movements of the soul the most important 
wheel is the will; while the weights are the desires and 
affections which incline the will this way or that. The 
escapement is the reason, which measures and determines 
what, where, and how far anything should be sought after 
or avoided. The other movements of the soul resemble 
the less important wheels which depend on the principal 
one. Wherefore, if too much weight be not given to the 
desires and affections, and if the escapement, reason, 
select and exclude properly, it is impossible that the har- 
mony and agreement of virtues should not follow, and this 
evidently consists of a proper blending of the active and 
the passive elements. 

17. Man, then, is in himself nothing but a harmony, 
and, as in the case of a clock or of a musical instrument 
which a skilled artificer has constructed, we do not forth- 
with pronounce it to be of no further use if it become dis- 
organised and corrupt (for it can be put to rights) ; thus, 
with regard to man, we may say that, no matter how 
disorganised by his fall into sin, he can, through the grace 
of God and by certain methods, be restored again to 
harmony. 

1 8. That the roots of piety are present in man is 
shown by the fact that he is the image of God. For an 
image implies likeness, and that like rejoices in like, is an 
immutable law of nature (Eccles. xii. 7). Since, then, 
man's only equal is He in whose image* he has been made, 
it follows that there is no direction in which he can be 
more easily carried by his desires than towards the fountain 
whence he took his origin ; provided that he clearly under- 
stand the conditions of his existence. 

19. The same thing is shown by the example of the 
moral philosophers, who, instructed by no word of God, 
but led by the blind instinct of nature, both acknowledged 
the Deity, venerated Him, and called upon His name, 
though they erred in the manner in which they put their 



MAN'S NATURAL CRAVING FOR KNOWLEDGE 49 

religion into practice. "All men have some conception 
of the gods, and all assign the highest place to a divine 
being," writes Aristotle {De Cmlo, i. 3). Seneca also says : 
"The worship of the gods consists first in believing in 
them ; then in acknowledging their majesty and their 
goodness, without which no majesty exists ; then in recog- 
nising that it is they who preside over the world, include 
everything under their dominion, and act as guardians 
of the human race" {Epist. 96). How closely this re- 
sembles what the Apostle says (Hebrews xi. 6) : " He that 
Cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a 
rewarder of them that seek after him." 

20. Plato also says : " God is the highest good, elevated 
high above all existence and above nature ; towards which 
all creation strives " ( Timaeus). And this is so true (that 
God is the highest good, which all things seek) that Cicero 
was able to say : " The first to teach us piety is nature " 
{De Natura Deorum, i.). And this is because (as Lactan- 
tius^' writes, bk. iv. ch. 28) : "We receive pardon on condi- 
tion that we give just and due worship to the God who 
produced us. Him alone let us know and follow. By 
this chain of piety we have been bound and linked to God, 
and it is from this fact that religion derives its name." 

21. It must be confessed that the natural desire for 
God, as the highest good, has been corrupted by the Fall, 
and has gone astray, so that no man, of his strength 
alone, could return to the right way. But in those whom 
God illumines by the Word and by His Spirit it is so 
renewed, that we find David exclaiming : " Whom have I 
in heaven but thee ? And there is none on earth that I 
desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but 
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever " 
(Psalm Ixxiii. 25, 26). 

22. Therefore, while we are seeking for the remedies 
of corruption, let none cast corruption in our teeth. For 
God will remove it through His Holy Ghost and by the 
intervention of natural means. For as Nebuchadnezzar, 
when human reason was taken from him and the soul of a 



50 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

beast was his, yet retained the hope of returning to his 
senses, and to his royal dignity as well, as soon as he 
acknowledged that heaven was his superior (Daniel iv. 25), 
so to us, who are trees rooted out of God's Paradise, the 
roots are left, and these can germinate afresh when the rain 
and the sun of God's grace are shed upon them. Did not 
God, soon after the Fall, and after the exile threatened to 
us (the penalty of death), sow in our hearts the seeds of 
fresh grace (by the promise of His blessed offspring) ? Did 
He not send His Son to restore us to our former estate ? 

23. It is base, wicked, and an evident sign of ingrati- 
tude, that we continually complain of our corrupt state, 
but make no effort to reform it ; that we bring forward 
what the old Adam can work in us, but never experience 
what the new Adam, Christ, can do. The Apostle says 
in his own name and in that of his Redeemer : " I can do 
all things through him that strengtheneth me " (Phil. iv. 
13). If it be possible for a shoot grafted on a willow, 
on a thorn, or on any other shrub, to germinate and bear 
fruit, what would it not do if grafted on a stock similar to 
itself? See the argument of the Apostle (Romans xi. 24). 
In addition, if God is able from these stones to raise up 
children unto Abraham (Matthew iii. 9), why should He 
not be able to excite to good works man, the son of God 
from the first creation, adopted anew through Christ, and 
born again through the Spirit of grace ? 

24. Ah ! let us beware lest we neglect the grace of God, 
which He is prepared to pour most liberally upon us. For 
if we, who are made one with Christ through faith, and 
dedicated to Him through the spirit of adoption, if we, I 
say, deny that we, with our offspring, are fit for those things 
which are of the kingdom of God, how was it that Christ 
said of children that theirs was the kingdom of heaven ? 
or how can He refer us to them, bidding us to become as 
little children, if we wish to enter into the kingdom of 
heaven? (Matthew xviii. 3). 

How is it that the Apostle pronounces the children of 
Christians to be sacred (even where one only of the parents 



MAN'S NATURAL CRAVING FOR KNOWLEDGE 51 

is faithful), and says that they are not unclean (i Cor. vii. 
14). Even of those who have been implicated in the 
gravest crimes the Apostle dares to affirm : " Such were 
some of you ; but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, 
but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ 
and in the Spirit of our God " ( i Cor. vi. 11). Can it 
therefore appear impracticable to any one, when we demand 
that the children of Christians (not the offspring of the old 
Adam but of the new, the sons of God, the little brothers 
and sisters of Christ) may be carefully trained, and declare 
that they are fit to receive in their hearts the seeds of 
eternity? We do not indeed demand fruit from a wild 
olive, but we come to the assistance of grafts freshly grafted 
on the tree of life, and help them to bear fruit. 

25. We see, then, that it is more natural, and, through 
the grace of the Holy Spirit, easier for a man to become 
wise, honest, and righteous, than for his progress to be 
hindered by incidental depravity. For everything returns 
easily to its own nature, and this it is that the Scriptures 
say : " Truth is easily seen by those who love her, and can 
readily be found by those who seek her. She grants her- 
self to the understanding, and those who wait before her 
door obtain her without trouble" (Wisdom vi. 13, 15). As 
the poet of Venusia says : 

No one is so wild that he cannot be tamed. 

If he patiently turn his ear to instruction and knowledge. 



CHAPTER VI 

IF A MAN IS TO BE PRODUCED, IT IS NECESSARY THAT 
HE BE FORMED BY EDUCATION 

I. The seeds of knowledge, of virtue, and of piety are, as 
we have seen, naturally implanted in us ; but the actual 
knowledge, virtue, and piety are not so given. These 
must be acquired by prayer, by education, and by action. 
He gave no bad definition who said that man was a 
" teachable animal." And indeed it is only by a proper 
education that he can become a man. 

2. For, if we consider knowledge, we see that it is the 
peculiar attribute of God to know all things by a single 
and simple intuition, without beginning, without progress, 
and without end. For man and for angels this is im- 
possible, because they do not possess infinity and eternity, 
that is to say, divinity. It is enough for them to have 
received suflSicient keenness of intellect to comprehend the 
works of God, and to gather a wealth of knowledge from 
them. As regards angels, it is certain that they also learn 
by perception ( I Peter i. 12 ; Ephes. iii. 10; i Kings xxii. 
20 J Job i. 6), and that their knowledge, like our own, is 
derived from experience. 

3. Let none believe, therefore, that any can really be 
a man, unless he have learned to act like one, that is, have 
been trained in those elements which constitute a man. 
This is evident from the example of all things created, 
which, although destined for man, do not suit his uses until 
fitted for them by his hands. For example, stones have 

52 



MAN MUST BE FORMED BY EDUCATION 53 

been given to us as material with which to build houses, 
towers, walls, pillars, etc. ; but they are of no use until 
they are cut and laid in their place by us. Pearls and 
precious stones destined to adorn man must be cut, 
ground, and polished. The metals, which are of vital 
use in daily life, have to be dug out, melted, refined, and 
variously cast and hammered. Till this is done they are 
of less use to us than common earth. 

From plants we derive food, drink, and medicines ; but 
first the herbs and grains have to be sown, hoed, gathered, 
winnowed, and ground ; trees have to be planted, pruned, 
and manured, while their fruits must be plucked off and 
dried ; and if any of- these things are required for medi- 
cine, or for building purposes, much more preparation is 
needed. Animals, whose essential characteristics are life 
and motion, seem to be self-sufficing, but if you wish to 
use them for the purposes for which they are suitable, 
some training is necessary. For example, the horse is 
naturally suited for use in war, the ox for drawing, the ass 
for carrying burdens, the dog for guarding and hunting, 
the falcon and hawk for fowling ; but they are all of little 
use until we accustom them to their work by training. 

4. Man, as far as his body is concerned, is born to 
labour ; and yet we see that nothing but the bare aptitude 
is born in him. He needs instruction before he can sit, 
stand, walk, or use his hands. Why, therefore, should it 
be claimed for our mind that, of itself, it can exist in its 
full development, and without any previous preparation ; 
since it is the law of all things created that they take their 
origin from nothing and develope themselves gradually, in 
respect both of their material and of the process of de- 
velopment ? For it is well known, and we showed in our 
last chapter, that the angels, whose perfection comes very 
near to that of the Almighty, are not omniscient, but make 
gradual advances in their knowledge of the marvellous 
wisdom of God. 

5. It is evident, too, that even before the Fall, a school 
in which he might make gradual progress was opened for 



54 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

man in Paradise. For, although the first created, as soon 
as they came into being, lacked neither the power of walk- 
ing erect, nor speech, nor reason, it is manifest, from the 
conversation of Eve with the serpent, that the knowledge 
of things which is derived from experience was entirely 
wanting. For Eve, had she had more experience, would 
have known that the serpent is unable to speak, and that 
there must therefore be some deceit. 

Much more, therefore, in this state of corruption must 
it be necessary to learn by experience, since the under- 
standing which we bring with us is an empty form, like 
a bare tablet, and since we are unskilled to do, speak, or 
know anything ; for all these faculties do but exist potenti- 
ally and need development. And indeed this is much 
^more difficult now than it can have been in the state of 
perfection, since not only are things obscure, but tongues 
also are confused (so that instead of one, many must now 
be learned, if a man for the sake of learning wish to hold 
communion with divers people, living and dead). The 
vernacular tongues also have become more complex, and 
no knowledge of them is born with us. 

6. Examples show that those who in their infancy have 
been seized by wild animals, and have been brought up 
among them, have not risen above the level of brutes in 
intellect, and would not have been able to make more use 
of their tongues, their hands, and their feet than beasts 
can, had they not once more come into the society of 
men. I will give several instances. About the year 1540^ 
in a village called Hassia, situated in the middle of a 
forest, a boy three years of age was lost, through the care- 
lessness of his parents. Some years afterwards the country 
people saw a strange animal running about with the 
wolves, of a different shape, four-footed, but with a man's 
face. Rumour of this spread through the district, and the 
governor asked the peasants to try to catch it alive and 
bring it to him. This they did, and finally the creature 
was conveyed to the Landgrave at Cassel. 

When it was taken into the castle it tore itself away. 



MAN MUST BE FORMED BY EDUCATION SS 

fled, and hid beneath a bench, where it glared fiercely at 
its pursuers and howled horribly. The prince had him 
educated and kept him continually in men's society, and 
under this influence his savage habits grew gentler by 
degrees ; he began to raise himself up on his hind-legs and 
walk like a biped, and at last to speak intelligently and 
behave like a man. Then he related to the best of his 
ability how he had been seized and nurtured by the wolves 
and had been accustomed to go hunting with them. The 
story is found in M. Dresser's^* work on Ancient and 
Modem Education, and Camerarius,'^^ in his Hours, mentions 
the same case, and another one of a similar nature 
(bk. i. ch. 7s). 

Gulartius ^ also (in Marvels of our Age) says that the 
following occurred in France in 1563. Some nobles went 
hunting, and, after they had killed twelve wolves, at last 
caught in their nets something like a naked boy, about 
seven years old, with a yellow skin and curly hair. His 
nails were hooked like an eagle's, he was unable to speak, 
and could only utter wild shrieks. When he was brought 
into the castle he struggled so fiercely that fetters could 
scarce be placed on him ; but after a few days of starvation 
he grew gentler, and within seven months had commenced 
to speak. He was taken round to various towns and 
exhibited, and his masters made much money out of him. 
At length a certain poor woman acknowledged him as her 
son. So true is Plato's remark {Laws, i. 6) : " Man is the 
gentlest and most divine being, if he have been made so by 
true education ; but if he have been subjected to none or 
to a false one he is the most intractable thing in the world." 

7. Education is indeed necessary for all, and this is 
evident if we consider the different degrees of ability. No 
one doubts that those who are stupid need instruction, 
that they may shake off' their natural dulness. But in 
reality those who are clever need it far more, since an 
active mind, if not occupied with useful things, will busy 
itself with what is useless, curious, and pernicious ; and, 
just as the more fertile a field is, the richer the crop of 



56 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

thorns and of thistles that it can produce, so an excellent 
intelligence becomes filled with fanciful notions, if it be 
not sown with the seeds of wisdom and of virtue ; and, 
just as a mill-stone grinds itself away with noise and 
grating, and often cracks and breaks, if wheat, the raw 
material of flour, be not supplied to it, so an active mind, 
if void of serious things, entangles itself utterly with vain, 
curious, and noxious thoughts, and becomes the cause of 
its own destruction. 

8. What are the rich without wisdom but pigs stuffed 
with bran ? What are the poor who have no understanding 
of affairs but asses laden with burdens ? What is a hand- 
some though ignorant man but a parrot adorned with 
feathers, or, as has been said, a golden sheath in which 
there is a leaden dagger ? 

9. For those who are in any position of authority, for 
kings, princes, magistrates, pastors of churches, and doctors, 
it is as necessary to be imbued with wisdom as it is for a 
guide to have eyes, an interpreter to have speech, a trumpet 
to be filled with sound, or a sword to have an edge. 
Similarly, those in subordinate positions should be educated 
that they may know how to obey their superiors wisely and 
prudently, not under compulsion, with the obedience of an 
ass, but of their own free will and from love of order. For 
a rational creature should be led, not by shouts, imprison- 
ment, and blows, but by reason. Any other method is an 
insult to God, in whose image all men are made, and fills 
human affairs with violence and unrest. 

10. We see then that all who are born to man's estate 
have need of instruction, since it is necessary that, being 
men, they should not be wild beasts, savage brutes, or 
inert logs. It follows also that one man excels another 
in exact proportion as he has received more instruction. 
We may conclude this chapter with the words of the " Wise 
Man." " He who deems wisdom and discipline of no avail 
is wretched ; his hopes (of attaining his desire) are vain, 
his labour is fruitless, and his work idle " (Wisdom iii. 1 1 ). 



CHAPTER VII 

A MAN CAN MOST EASILY BE FORMED IN EARLY YOUTH, AND 
CANNOT BE FORMED PROPERLY EXCEPT AT THIS AGE 

I. From what has been said it is evident that the circum- 
stances of men and of trees are similar. For, as a fruit 
tree (an apple, a pear, a fig, or a vine) is able to grow from 
its own stock and of its own accord, while a wild tree will 
not bring forth sweet fruits until it be planted, watered, 
and pruned by a skilled gardener, so does a man grow of 
his own accord into a human semblance (just as any 
brute resembles others of his own class), but is unable to 
develope into a rational, wise, virtuous, and pious creature, 
unless virtue and piety are first engrafted in him. We 
will now show that this must take place while the plants 
are young. 

2. From the human point of view there are six reasons 
for this. First, the uncertainty of our present life. For that 
we must leave it is certain, but when and how is uncertain. 
And that any should be snatched away unprepared is a 
danger greatly to be dreaded, since a man is thus doomed 
eternally. For, just as a man must go through life without 
a limb if he leave his mother's womb bereft of it, so, if, 
when we leave this world, our minds have not been 
moulded to the knowledge of and participation in God, 
there will be no further opportunity given us. And there- 
fore, as the matter is of such importance, the greatest haste 
is necessary, lest any man be lost. 

3. And although death be far off and a long life be 

57 



S8 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

assured, the formation of character should none the less 
begin early, because life must be spent not in learning 
but in acting. We should therefore be prepared for the 
actions of hfe as soon as possible, since we may be com- 
pelled to desist from action before we have learned our 
lesson properly. Indeed, if any wish to devote his life to 
learning, the multitude of objects which the Creator has 
placed before his happy gaze is infinite, and, if he chance 
to have a life like Nestor's, he will find his most useful 
occupation in discerning the treasures of divine wisdom 
that the Creator has provided, and in thus preparing for 
himself the bulwarks of a happy life. Man's senses, there- 
fore, must be early brought to bear on the world that 
surrounds him, since throughout his whole life he has 
much to learn, to experience, and to accomplish. 

4. It is the nature of everything that comes into being, 
that while tender it is easily bent and formed, but that, 
when it has grown hard, it is not easy to alter. Wax, 
when soft, can be easily fashioned and shaped ; when hard 
it cracks readily. A young plant can be planted, trans- 
planted, pruned, and bent this way or that. When it has 
become a tree these processes are impossible. New-laid 
eggs, when placed under a hen, grow warm quickly and 
produce chickens ; when they are old they will not do so. 
If a rider wish to train a horse, a ploughman an ox, a 
huntsman a dog or a hawk, a bear-leader a bear for 
dancing, or an old woman a magpie, a raven, or a crow, 
to imitate the human voice, they must choose them for 
the purpose when quite young; otherwise their labour 
is wasted. 

5. It is evident that this holds good with man himself. 
His brain, which we have already compared to wax, because 
it receives the images of external objects that present them- 
selves to its organs of sense, is, in the years of childhood, 
quite wet and soft, and fit for receiving all images that 
come to it. Later on, as we find by experience, it grows 
hard and dry by degrees, so that things are less readily 
impressed or engraved upon it. Hence Cicero's remark. 



MAN MOST EASILY FORMED IN YOUTH 59 

" Boys pick up countless things with rapidity." In the same 
way it is only in the years of boyhood, when the muscles 
are still capable of being trained, that the hands and the 
other members can be trained to produce skilled work. If 
a man is to become a good writer, painter, tailor, smith, 
cabinet-maker, or musician, he must apply himself to the 
art from his early youth, when the imagination is active 
and the fingers flexible : otherwise he will never produce 
anything. If piety is to take root in any man's heart, it 
must be engrafted while he is still young ; if we wish any one 
to be virtuous, we must train him in early youth ; if we 
wish him to make great progress in the pursuit of wisdom, 
we must direct his faculties towards it in infancy, when desire 
burns, when thought is swift, and when memory is tenacious. 
" An old man who has still to learn his lessons is a shame- 
ful and ridiculous object ; training and preparation are for 
the young, action for the old" (Seneca, Epist. 36). 

6. In order that man may be fashioned to humanity, 
God has granted him the years of youth, which are unsuit- 
able for everything but education. While the horse, the 
ox, the elephant, and other beasts, mere animated masses, 
come to maturity in a few years, man alone scarcely does 
so in twenty or thirty. Now, if any imagine that this arises 
from chance or from some accidental cause or other, he 
surely betrays his folly. To all other things, forsooth, God 
has meted out their periods, while in the case of man 
alone, the lord of all, He allows them to be fixed by 
chance ! Or are we to suppose that nature finds it easier 
to complete the formation of man by slow processes? 
Nature, who with no trouble can produce vaster bodies in 
a few months. We can only suppose, therefore, that the 
Creator, of deliberate intent, interposed th e delay of yo uth;! 
in order that our period of training might be longer j and 
ordained that for some time we should take no part in the 
action of life, that, for the rest of our lives, and for eternity, 
we might be the more fitted to do so. 

7. In man, that alone is lasting which has been imbibed 
in early youth, as is clear from the same examples. A jar. 



6o THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

L€ven though broken, preserves the odour with which it 
I was imbued when new. When a tree is young its branches 
spread out all round it, and remain in this position for 
' hundreds of years, until it is cut down. Wool is so tena- 
cious of the colour with which it is first dyed, that it cannot 
be bleached. The wooden hoop of a wheel, which has 
been bent into a curve, will break into a thousand pieces 
rather than return to straightness. And similarly, in a 
man, first impressions cling so fast that nothing but a 
miracle can remove them. It is therefore most prudent 
that men be shaped to the standard of wisdom in early 
youth. 

8. Finally, it is most dangerous if a man be not imbued 
with the cleanly precepts of life from his very cradle. For, 
when the external senses begin to fulfil their functions, the 
mind of man cannot remain at rest, and, if not engaged 
with what is useful, it occupies itself with the vainest and 
even with harmful things (a process which is assisted by 
the evil examples of a corrupt age), while later on, if it 
wish to unlearn what it has acquired, it finds this impos- 
sible or very difficult ; as we have already shown. Hence 
the world is full of enormities which neither the civil 
magistrates nor the ministers of the Church are able to 
quell, since no serious attention is given to the source from 
which the evil flows. 

9. If, then, each man have the welfare of his own 
children at heart, and if that of the human race be dear 
to the civil and ecclesiastical guardians of human affairs, 
let them hasten to make provision for the timely planting, 
pruning, and watering of the plants of heaven, that these 
may be prudently formed to make prosperous advances in 
letters, virtue, and piety. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE YOUNG MUST BE EDUCATED IN COMMON, AND FOR 
THIS SCHOOLS ARE NECESSARY 

I. Having shown that those plants of Paradise, Christian , 
children, cannot grow up like a forest, but need tending, i 
we must now see on whom this care should fall. It is 
indeed the most natural duty of parents to see that the ' 
lives for which they are responsible shall be rational, 
virtuous, and pious. God Himself bears witness that this 
was Abraham's custom, when He says : " For I have known 
him, to the end that he may command his children and 
his household after him, that they may keep the way of 
the Lord, to do justice and judgment" (Gen. xviii. 19). 
He demands it from parents in general, with this com- 
mand : " And these words, which I command thee this 
day, shall be upon thine heart, and thou shalt teach them 
diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when 
thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the 
way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up " 
(Deut. vi. 7). By the Apostle also He says : " And ye 
fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but nurture 
them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord " 
(Ephes. vi. 4). 

2. But, since human occupations as well as human ' 
beings have multiplied, it is rare to find men who have 
either sufficient knowledge or sufficient leisure to instruct 
their children. The wise habit has therefore arisen of 
giving over children, for their common education, to select 

61 



62 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

persons, conspicuous for their knowledge of affairs and their 
soberness of morals. To such instructors of the young 
the name of preceptor, master, schoolmaster, or professor 
has been applied, while the places destined for this com- 
mon instruction have been named schools, elementary 
schools, lecture-rooms, colleges, public schools, and univer- 
sities. 

3. On the authority of Josephus we learn that the 
patriarch Shem opened the first school, just after the 
flood. Later, this was called the Hebrew school. Who 
does not know that in Chaldsea, especially in Babylon, 
there were many schools, in which the arts, including 
astronomy, were cultivated? since, later on (in the time 
of Nebuchadnezzar), Daniel and his companions were 
instructed in the wisdom of the Chaldeans (Dan. i. 20), 
as was also the case with Moses in Egypt (Acts vii. 22). 
By the command of God, schools were set up in all the 
towns of the children of Israel ; they were called syna- 
gogues, and in them the Levites used to teach the law. 
These lasted till the coming of Christ, and became re- 
nowned through His teaching and that of His Apostles. 
The custom of erecting schools was borrowed by the 
Romans from the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Jews, 
and from the Romans it spread throughout their whole 
empire, especially when the religion of Christ became 
universal through the care of pious princes and bishops. 
History relates that Charlemagne, whenever he subjected 
any heathen race, forthwith ordained for it bishops and 
learned men, and erected churches and schools ; and after 
him the other Christian emperors, kings, nobles, and magis- 
trates have increased the number of schools so much that 
they are innumerable. 

4. It is to the interest of the whole Christian republic 
that this Godly custom be not only retained but increased 
as well, and that in every well-ordered habitation of man 
(whether a city, a town, or a village), a school or place of 
education for the young be erected. This is demanded : — 

5. (i.) By the admirable method of transacting business 



THE YOUNG MUST BE EDUCATED IN COMMON 63 

which is in common use. For, as the head of a household _ 
makes use of various craftsmen when he has no leisure 
time to prepare what is necessary for his household economy, 
why should he make any difference in the case of education ? 
When he needs flour, he goes to the miller ; when flesh, to 
the butcher ; when drink, to the inn-keeper ; when clothing, 
to the tailor ; when shoes, to the cobbler ; when a, house, a 
ploughshare, or a key, to the builder, the smith, or the lock- 
smith. Again, we have churches for religious instruction, and 
law courts and assembly rooms in which to discuss the causes 
of litigants and make weighty announcements to the assem- 
bled people ; why not schools also for the young ? Farmers 
do not feed their own pigs and cows, but keep hired herds- 
men who feed them all at one time, while their masters, 
free from distraction, transact their own business. For 
this is a marvellous saving of labour, when one man, un- 
disturbed by other claims on his attention, confines himself 
to one thing ; in this way one man can be of use to many, 
and many to one man. 

6. (ii.) By necessity, because it is very seldom that 
parents have sufficient ability or sufficient leisure to teach 
their children. The consequence is that there has arisen 
a class of men who do this one thing alone, as a profession, 
and that by this means the advantage of the whole com- 
munity is attained. 

7. (iii.) And although there might be parents with leisure 
to educate their own children, it is nevertheless better that 
the young should be taught together and in large classes, 
since better results and more pleasure are to be obtained 
when one pupil serves as an example and a stimulus for 
another. For to do what we see others do, to go where 
others go, to follow those who are ahead of us, and to keep 
in front of those who are behind us, is the course of 
action to which we are all most naturally inclined. 

' It is when the steed has rivals to surpass or leaders to follow, 
That he runs his best. 

Young children, especially, are always more easily led 



64 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



and ruled by example than by precept. If you give them 
a precept, it makes but little impression ; if you point out 
that others are doing something, they imitate without being 
told to do so. 

8. (iv.) Again, nature is always showing us by examples 
rthat whatever is to be produced in abundance must be 
f produced in some one place. Thus, for instance, wood is 

produced in quantities in forests, grass in fields, fish in 
lakes, and metals in the bowels of the earth. 

Specialisation, too, is carried to such an extent, that the 
forest which produces pines, cedars, or oaks, produces them in 
abundance, although other kinds of trees may be unable to 
grow there ; and, in the same way, land that produces gold 
does not produce other metals in like quantity. This truth 
can be seen much more plainly in our own bodies. It is 
very important that each limb share in the nourishment 
that is assimilated by the body. Its share, however, is not 
transmitted to each in its raw state, to be there digested 
and adapted ; but there are certain fixed members, designed 
as workshops for the performance of this function, namely, 
to receive food for the use of the whole body, to heat it, 
to digest it, and, at length, to distribute nourishment to 
the other members. Thus, chyle is produced by the 
stomach, blood by the liver, vital spirit by the heart, and 
mental spirit by the brain : and these elements, when 
prepared, are properly diffused throughout all the limbs 
and preserve life in the whole body. And therefore, as 
workshops supply manufactured goods, churches supply 
piety, and law courts justice, why should not schools 
produce, purify, and multiply the light of wisdom, and 
distribute it to the whole body of the human community ? 

9. (v.) And, finally, we see the same tendency in the arts, 
if a rational procedure be used. When a tree cultivator, 
in his walks through woods and thickets, finds a sapling 
suitable for transplanting, he does not plant it in the same 
place where he finds it, but digs it out and places it in an 
orchard, where he cares for it in company with a hundred 
others. And thus also, the man who breeds fishes for the 



THE YOUNG MUST BE EDUCATED IN COMMON 65 

kitchen, digs fish-ponds and allows thousands to multiply 
together. In these cases the larger the orchard the better 
grow the trees, and the larger the fish-pond the larger 
grow the fish. And therefore, as fish-ponds are dug for fish 
and orchards are laid out for fruit-trees, so also should 
schools be erected for the young. 



!> 



CHAPTER IX 



ALL THE YOUNG OF BOTH SEXES SHOULD BE SENT TO 
SCHOOL 

1 1. The following reasons will establish that not the chil- 
Idren of the rich or of the powerful only, but of all alike, 
Iboys and girls, both noble and ignoble, rich and poor, in 
^all cities and towns, villages and hamlets, should be sent 
to school. 

2. In the first place, all who have been born to man's 
state have been born with the same end in view, namely, 
lat they may be men, that is to say, rational creatures,^ 

jthe lords of other creatures, and the images of their Creator. 
'AU, therefore, must be brought on to a point at which, 
being properly imbued with wisdom, virtue, and piety, they 
may usefully employ the present life and be worthily pre- 
pared for that to come. I God Himself has Irequently 
""asserted that with Him there is no respect of persons, so 
that, if, while we admit some to the culture of the intellect, 
we exclude others, we commit an injury not only against 
those who share the same nature as ourselves, but against 
God Himself, who wishes to be acknowledged, to be loved, 
and to be praised by all upon whom He has impressed Hi 
image. In this respect the fervour of 4II men will increasi 
in proportion to the flame of knowledge that has been 
kindled. For our love is in direc t ratio to our knowledge, 

3. Now^we do not know to wnat USeS "divme providencfe 
has destined this or that man ; but this is certain, that out 
of the poorest, the most abject, and the most obscure, He 

66 



ALL THE YOUNG MUST GO TO SCHOOL 67 

has produced instruments for His glory. Let us, therefore, 
imitate the sun in the heavens, which lights, warms, and 
vivifies the whole earth, so that whatever is able to live, to 
flourish, and to blossom, may do so. 

4. Nor is it any obstacle that some seem to be naturally 
dull and stupid, for this renders more imperative the 
universal culture of such intellects. The slower and the 
weaker the disposition of any man, the more he needs 
assistance, that he may throw off his brutish dulness and 
stupidity as much as possible. Nor can any man be found 
whose intellect is so weak that it cannot be improved by 
culture. A sieve, if you continually pour water through it, I 
grows cleaner and cleaner, although it cannot retain the ' 
liquid ; and, in the same way, the dull and the weak-minded, 
though they may make no advance in letters, become softer 
in disposition and learn to obey the civil magistrates and the 
ministers of the Church. There have, besides, been many 
instances in which those who are naturally stupid have 
gained such a grasp of the sciences as to excel those who 
were more gifted. As the poet truly says : " Industry over- 
comes all obstacles." Again, just as some men are strong 
as children, but afterwards grow sick and ailing, while 
others, whose bodies are sickly and undersized in youth, 
develope into robust and tall men ; so it is with intellects. 
Some develope early, but soon wear out and grow dull, 
while others, originally stupid, become sharp and pene- 
trating. In our orchards we like to have not only trees 
that bring forth early fruit, but also those that are late- 
bearing ; for each thing, as says the son of Sirach, finds 
praise in its season, and at length, though late, shows that 
it has not existed in vain. Why, therefore, should we wish 
that in the garden of letters only one class of intellects, the 
forward and active, should be tolerated ? Let none be ex- 

clud ed unless Go d has denied hi m sense and intR11i!J<'^'^'^ 

^~~5T Nor can aliy sUllifiyill reason be given why th^ 
weaker sex (to give a word of advice on this point in 1 
particular) should be altogether excluded from the pursuit J 
of knowledge (whether in Latin or in their mother-tongue),/ 



68 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

\ 

They also are formed in the image of God, and share 

in His grace and in the kingdom of the world to come. 

Krhey are endowed with equal sharpness of mind and 

I capacity for knowledge (often with more than the opposite 

isex), and they are able to attain the highest positions, 

since they have often been called by God Himself to rule 

over nations, to give sound advice to kings and princes, to 

the study of medicine and of other things which benefit 

the human race, even to the office of prophesying and of 

inveighing against priests and bishops. Why, therefore, 

should we admit them to the alphabet, and afterwards 

drive them away from books? Do we fear their folly? 

The more we occupy their thoughts, so much the less will 

the folly that arises from emptiness of mind find a place. 

b. isut iet-TTot--ati — bo o k s b e - " give n — to them in"ais=- 
criminately, as they have been given to the young of the 
other sex (and indeed it is greatly to be deplored that 
more caution has not been displayed in this matter) ; but 
only those from which, by the due observation of God and 
of His works, true virtue and true piety can be learned. 

7. And let none cast in my teeth that saying of the 
Apostle : " I permit not a woman to teach" (i Tim. ii. 12), 
or that of Juvenal in the sixth satire : " See that thy lawful 
wife be not a chatterbox, that she express not the simplest 
matter in involved language, nor be deeply versed in history," 
or the remark of Hippolytus in Euripides : " I detest a blue- 
stocking. May there never be a woman in my house who 
knows more than is fitting for a woman to know. For 
'tis in the wise especially that Cypris engenders the desire 
for evil." These opinions, I opine, stand in no true oppo- 

Ssition to our demand. For we are not advising that 
women be educated in such a way that their tendency to 
curiosity shall be developed, but so that their sincerity and 
contentedness may be increased, and this chiefly in those 
things which it becomes a woman to know and to do ; that 
is to say, all that enables her to look after her household 
and to promote the welfare of her husband and her family. 

8. If any ask, "What will be the result if artisans. 



ALL THE YOUNG MUST GO TO SCHOOL 69 

rustics, porters, and even women become lettered?" I 
answer. If this universal instruction of youth be brought 
about by the proper means, none of these will lack the 
material for thinking, choosing, following, and doing good 
things. All will know how the actions and endeavours of 
life should be regulated, within what limits we must pro- 
gress, and how each man can protect his own position. 
Not only this, but all will regale themselves, even in the 
midst of their work and toil, by meditation on the words 
and works of God, and, by the constant reading of the 
Bible and other good books, will avoid that idleness which 
is so dangerous to flesh and blood. To sum up, they will 
learn to see, to praise, and to recognise God everywhere, 
and, in this way, to go through this life of care with enjoy- 
ment, and to look for the life to come with increased 
desire and hope. Does not such a condition of the Church 
represent to us the only paradise that it is possible to realise 
on this earth ? 



CHAPTER X 

THE INSTRUCTION GIVEN IN SCHOOLS SHOULD BE 
UNIVERSAL 

I. We have already shown that every one ought to receive a 
universal education, and this at school. But do not, there- 
fore, imagine that we demand from all men a knowledge 
(that is to say, an exact or deep knowledge) of all the arts 
and sciences. This would neither be useful of itself, nor, on 
account of the shortness of life, can it be attained by any 
man. For we see that each science is so vast and so com- 
pUcated (as are physics, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, 
or even agriculture and arboriculture) that it would occupy 
the lifetime of even the strongest intellects if they wished 
to master it thoroughly by investigation and experiment. 
Thus did Pythagoras devote himself to arithmetic, Archi- 
medes to mechanics, Agricola to metallurgy, ^^ and Longo- 
lius ^^ (who spent his whole life in endeavouring to acquire 
a perfect Ciceronian style) to rhetoric. It is the principles,\ 
the causes, and the uses of all the most important things in j 
existence that we wish all men to learn ; all, that is to say/ 
who are sent mto tne woria to be actors as well as spectatorsA 
For we must take strong and vigorous measures that no 
man, in his journey through life, may encounter any- 
thing so unknown to him tha t he c annQt_pass-sound-judg- 
jnent uponjt andjiurn it tolls groper use^without serious 
error. 

2. We must, therefore, concentrate our energies on 
70 



INSTRUCTION IN SCHOOLS TO BE UNIVERSAL 1i 

obtaining that, throughout our whole lives, in schools and 
by the aid of schools :. (i.) our talents may be cultivated 
by study of the sciences and of the arts ; (ii.) languages 
may be learned ; (iii.) honest morals may be formed ; (iv.) 
God may be sincerely worshipped. 

3. He spoke wisely who said that schools were the 
workshops of humanity, since it is undoubtedly through 
their agency that man really becomes man, that is to say 
(to refer to our previous analysis) : (i.) a rational creature ; 
(ii.) a creature which is lord over all creatures and also 
over himself; (iii.) a creature which is the delight of his 
Creator. This will be the case if schools are able to pro- 
duce men who are wise in mind, prudent in action, and 
pious in spirit. 

4. These three principles, then, must be implanted in 
all the young in all schools, and this I shall prove, starting 
from the following fundamental points : — 

(i.) From the circumstances by which we are surrounded; 
(ii.) From ourselves ; 

(iii.) From Christ the God-man, the most perfect example 
of our perfection. 

5. Things themselves, as far as they concern us, can 
be divided into three classes only : (i.) objects that we can 
observe, such as the heavens, the earth, and all that is in 
them; (ii.) objects that we can imitate, such as the marvellous 
order which pervades all things, and which man ought to 
imitate in his actions ; (iii.) objects that we can enjoy, such 
as the grace of God and His manifold blessing here and for 
eternity. If. man is to acquit himself creditably when 
brought into contact with this order of nature, he must be 
trained to know the things that are spread out for his 
observation in this marvellous amphitheatre, to do the 
things that it is right for him to do, and, finally, to enjoy 
those things of which the most benign Creator, treating 
him as a guest in His house, has, with Uberal hand, given 
him the fruition. 

6. If we consider ourselves, we see clearly that learning, 
virtue, and piety are of importance to all alike ; whether we 



72 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

look at the essential being of the soul, or at the object of 
our creation and introduction into the world. 

7. The soul in its essential elements consists of three 
potentialities, which recall the uncreated Trinity, and these 
are the intellect, the will, and the memory. The province 
of the intellect is to observe the differences between things, 
even down to the smallest details. The will concerns itself 
with choice — that is to say, with the choice of things that 
are advantageous and the rejection of those which are not. 
The memory stores up for future use all the things with 
which the intellect and the will have been busied, and 
reminds the soul of its dependence on God and of its 
duty ; in which aspect it is also called conscience. 

In order, then, that these faculties may rightly fulfil 
their offices, it is necessary that they be furnished with 
such things as may illumine the intellect, direct the will, 
and stimulate the conscience, so that the intellect may be 
acute and penetrating, the will may choose without error, 
and the conscience may greedily refer all things to God. 
Therefore, just as these faculties (the intellect, the will, 
^ and the conscience) cannot be separated, since they con- 
stitute the same soul, so it is impossible to separate those 
three ornaments of the soul, eruditi on, virtue, and piet^ 

8. Now, if we consider why we have been sent into the 
world, it will be evident from two points of view that the 
object is threefold, namely, that we may serve God, His 
creatures, and ourselves, and that we may enjoy the 
pleasure to be derived from God, from His creatures, and 
from ourselves. 

g. If we wish to serve God, our neighbours, and our- 
selves, it is necessary for us to possess, with respect to 
God, piety; with respect to our neighbours, virtue; and 
I with respect to ourselves, knowledge. These principles, 
! however, are intimately connected, and a man, for his own 
advantage, should be not only learned, but also virtuous 
and pious ; for that of his neighbour, not only virtuous, 
but also learned and pious ; and for the glory of God, not 
only pious, but also learned and virtuous. 



INSTRUCTION IN SCHOOLS TO BE UNIVERSAL 73 

10. If we consider the happiness to which God has 
destined mankind, we find that He showed His intention 
clearly when creating man, since He introduced him 
into a world furnished with all good things; prepared 
for him, in addition, a paradise of delights ; and, finally, 
arranged to make him a partner of His eternal happiness. 

11. Now, by the term "happiness" we understand not 
the pleasures of the body (though these, since they consist 
of the vigour of good health, and of the enjoyment of food 
and of sleep, can only arise from the virtue of temperance), 
but those of the soul, which arise either out of the objects 
around us, or from ourselves, or, finally, from God. 

1 2. The pleasure which arises out of things themselves, 
is the pleasure that a wise man experiences in speculation. 
For, wherever he betakes himself, whatever he observes, 
and whatever he considers, he finds everywhere such attrac- 
tions, that often, as it were, snatched out of himself, he merges 
his identity in them. It is to this that the book of Wisdom 
refers : " The conversation of wisdom hath no bitterness ; 
and to live with her hath no sorrow, but mirth and joy " 
(viii. 1 6). And a heathen philosopher says : " There is 
nothing in life more pleasant than to seek out wisdom." 

13. Pleasure in self is that very sweet delight which 
arises when a man, who is given over to virtue, rejoices in 
his own honest disposition, since he sees himself prompt 
to all things which the order of justice requires. This 
pleasure is far greater than the former one, according to 
the proverb "A good conscience is a perpetual feast." 

14. Delight in God is the highest point to which 
pleasure can attain in this life, and is found when a man, 
feeling that God is eternally gracious to him, exults in His 
fatherly and immutable favour to such a degree that his 
heart melts with the love of God. He desires to know or 
to do nothing further, but, overwhelmed by God's mercy, 
he rests in peace and tastes the joys of eternal life. This 
is "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" 
(Phil. iv. 7), than which nothing more sublime can be 
desired or imagined. 



74 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

These three principles, therefore, learning, virtue, and 
piety, are the three founts from which all the streams of 
the most perfect pleasures flow. 

1 5. Lastly, God Himself, manifest in the flesh (that He 
might exhibit in Himself the perfection of all things), has 
taught by His example that these three elements must exist 
in each individual. For the Evangelist testifies that He 
advanced not only in stature, but also in wisdom and favour 
with God and man (Luke ii. 52). Here can be seen 
the blessed Trinity that adorns us. For what is wisdom 
but the knowledge of things as they are ? What is it that 
brings us favour with men, if not amiability of character ? 
What procures us the grace of God, if not the fear of the 
Lord, that is to say, inward, serious, and fervid piety? 
Let us, therefore, realise in ourselves that which we have 
seen in Jesus Christ, the absolute ideal of all perfection, 
the standard set up for us to imitate. 

1 6. For this reason He said, " Learn of me " (Matt. xi. 
29). And since this same Christ has been given to the 
human race as the most learned teacher, as the most holy 
priest, and as the most powerful king, it is evident that 
Christians should be formed on His model and should 
be enlightened through their intellects, sanctified through 
their consciences, and made powerful through their deeds 
(each in his own calling). Our schools, therefore, will 
then at length be Christian schools when they make us as 
like to Christ as is possible. 

17. It is, therefore, an unhallowed separation if f'hese 
three elements be not bound together as if biy an 
adamantine chain. How wretched is the teaching, that 
does not lead to virtue and to piety ! For what is l/iterary 
skill without virtue? He who makes progress ir^ know- 
ledge but not in morality (says an old proverb),.-' recedes 
rather than advances. And thus, what Solomorl said of 
the beautiful but foolish woman, holds good of the'' learned 
man who possesses not virtue : " As a jewel of /gold in 
a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is wit'fiout dis- 
cretion " (Prov. xi. 22). For, just as gems are '^^ set not in 



INSTRUCTION IN SCHOOLS TO BE UNIVERSAL 75 

lead but in gold, in which combination both are more 
beautiful, thus should knowledge be joined not to 
immorality but to virtue, when each will add adornment 
to the other. For the fear of the Lord, as it is the 
beginning and the end of wisdom, is also the coping-stone 
and crown of knowledge. The fear of the Lord is the 
beginning of wisdom (Prov. i. and elsewhere). 

18. Since, therefore, a man's whole life depends on 
the instruction that he has received during boyhood, 
every opportunity is lost unless the minds of all are then 
prepared for every emergency that may arise in life. Just 
as in his mother's womb each man receives his full com- 
plement of limbs, — hands, feet, tongue, etc. — although all 
men are not to be artificers, runners, scribes, or orators ; 
so at school all men should be taught whatever concerns 
man, though in after life some things will be of more use 
to one man, others to another. 



CHAPTER XI 

HITHERTO THERE HAVE BEEN NO PERFECT SCHOOLS 

I. This confident heading may seem too presumptuous j 
but I challenge the facts themselves, and, while I constitute 
the reader as judge, will myself do nothing but summon 
witnesses. I call a school that fulfils its function perfectly, 
one which is a true forging-place of men ; where the minds 
of those who learn are illuminated by the light of wisdom, 
so as to penetrate with ease all that is manifest and all 
that is secret (comp. Wisdom vii. 21), where the emotions 
and the desires are brought into harmony with virtue, and 
where the heart is filled with and permeated by divine 
love, so that all who are handed over to Christian schools 
to be imbued with true wisdom may be taught to live a 
heavenly life on earth ; in a word, where all men are 
taught all things thoroughly. 

2. But has any school either existed on this plane of 
perfection or held this goal in view ; not to ask if any has 
ever reached it? Lest I should seem to chase Platonic 
ideas and to dream of perfection such as exists nowhere 
and cannot be hoped for in this life, I will point out by 
another argument that such schools ought to be and have 
never yet existed. 

3. Dr. Luther, in his exhortation to towns of the 
empire on behalf of the erection of schools (a.d. 1525), 
asks for these two things, among others. Firstly, that 
schools may be founded in all cities, towns, and villages, 
for the instruction of all the young of both sexes (the 

76 



HITHERTO NO PERFECT SCHOOLS 77 

necessity of which we proved in chap, ix.), so that 
even peasants and artisans may, for two hours daily, 
receive instruction in useful knowledge, in morality, and in 
religion. Secondly, that an easier method of instruction 
may be introduced, so that students, instead of developing 
an antipathy towards learning, may be enticed by irresistible 
attractions, and that, as he says, boys may gain no less 
pleasure from study than from spending whole days in 
playing ball and amusing themselves. These are the 
views of Dr. Luther. 

4. This is indeed a noble counsel, and worthy of such 
a man ! But who does not see that matters have gone no 
farther than his wish ? For where are those universal 
schools, where is that attractive method ? 

5. It is evident that nothing has been done, since in 
the smaller villages and hamlets no schools have been 
founded. 

6. Where schools exist, they are not for the whole 
community, but only for the rich, since, owing to their 
cost, the poor cannot gain admission to them, except by 
some chance, such as pity on the part of some one. 
Among those excluded there are probably some excellent 
intellects, which are thus ruined and destroyed, to the 

1 great loss of the Church and of the state. ' 

\ 7. Further, the method used in instructing the young 

has generally been so severe that schools have been looked 

on as terrors for boys and shambles for their intellects, 

, and the greater number of the students, having contracted 

a dislike for learning and for books, have hastened awayj 

to the workshops of artificers or to some other occupation. 

8. On the other hand, those who remained at school 

(whether compelled to do so by parents and guardians, or 

influenced by the hope of obtaining some honourable 

position by means of their attainments, or drawn towards 

the liberal arts spontaneously and of their own nature), 

did not receive a serious or comprehensive education, but! 

a preposterous a nd wretched one. For piety and virtue,/ 

whicfi form^he HtosHinnOrfSnt-efement in education, were 



78 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

neglected more than anything else. In all the schools 
(and even in the universities, which ought to embody the 
greatest advances of human culture) these subjects held 
only a secondary place, so that for the most part, instead 
of tractable lambs, fiery wild asses and restive mules were 
produced; and instead of characters moulded to virtue, 
nothing issued from the schools but a spurious veneer of 
morality, a fastidious and exotic clothing of culture, and 
eyes, hands, and feet trained to worldly vanities. How 
few of these mannikins, who had for so long been polished 
by such a training in the languages and in the arts, 
realised that to the rest of the world they ought to be 
an example of temperance, charity, humility, humanity, 
gravity, patience, and continence ! 

r The reason of this evidently is that the question of 
" virtuous living " is never raised in the schools. This is 
shown by the wretched discipline in nearly all schools, by 
the dissolute morals of all classes, and by the never- 
ceasing complaints, sighs, and tears of pious men. Can 
any one defend the condition in which our schools have 
been ? An hereditary disease, sprung from our first 
parents, pervades all classes, so that, shut out from the 
tree of life, we direct our desires inordinately towards the 
tree of knowledge, and our schools also, permeated by this 
insatiable appetite, have hitherto pursued nothing but 
intellectual progress. 

9. But with what method or with what success have 
they done even this? In truth, the only result achieved 
was the following. For five, ten, or more years they 
detained the mind over matters that could be mastered in 
one. What could have been gently instilled into the 
intellect, was violently impressed upon it, nay rather 
stuffed and flogged into it. What might have been 
placed before the mind plainly and lucidly, was treated of 
obscurely, perplexedly, and intricately, as if it were a 
complicated riddle. 

10. In addition, though for the present we will pass 
this over, the intellect was scarcely ever nourished by the 



HITHERTO NO PERFECT SCHOOLS 79 



•i 



actual facts, but was filled with the husks of words, with^ 
a windy and parrot-like loquacity, and with the chaff 
opinions. 

11. The study of the Latin language alone (to take 
this subject as an example), good heavens ! how intricate, 
how complicated, and how prolix it was ! Camp followers 
and military attendants, engaged in the kitchen and in 
other menial occupations, learn a tongue that differs from 
their own, sometimes two or three, quicker than the 
children in schools learn Latin only, though children have 
abundance of time, and devote all their energies to it. 
And with what unequal progress ! The former gabble 
their languages after a few months, while the latter, after 
fifteen or twenty years, can only put a few sentences into 
Latin with the aid of grammars and of dictionaries, and 
cannot do even this without mistakes and hesitation. 
Such a disgraceful waste of time and of labour must 
assuredly arise from a faulty method. 

12. On this subject the celebrated Eilhard Lubinus, 
professor in the University of Rostock, has with justice 
remarked : " When I consider the ordinary method of 
teaching boys in schools, it seems to me as if it had 
been laboriously devised with a view to make it impos- 
sible for teachers and pupils alike to lead or to be led to 
a knowledge of the Latin tongue, without great labour, 
great tedium, infinite trouble, and the greatest possible 
consumption of time. A state of things which I cannot 
think of without shuddering." And a little farther on : 
"After frequent consideration of these matters I find 
myself always led to the conclusion, that the entire system 
must have been introduced into schools by some evil and 
envious genius, the enemy of the human race." So says 
Lubinus, who is only one out of many authorities whom 
I could quote in my favour. 

1 3. But what need is there of witnesses ? How manyi 
of us there are who have left the schools and universitiei 
with scarcely a notion of true learning ! I, unfortunate 
man that I am, am one of many thousands, who havi 



So THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

miserably lost the sweetest spring-time of their whole life, 
and have wasted the fresh years of youth on scholastic 
trifles. Ah, how often, since my mind has been en- 
lightened, has the thought of my wasted youth wrung 
sighs from my breast, drawn tears from my eyes, and filled 
my heart with sorrow ! How often has my grief caused 
me to exclaim : 

Oh that Jupiter could bring back to me the years that are past 
and gone ! 

14. But these prayers are in vain. Bygone days will 
never return. None of us who is advanced in years 
can grow young again, commence his career anew, and, 
furnished with a better method, pursue it more success- 
fully. Of this there is no question. One thing alone 
does remain, and that is to give those who come after us 
such advice as we can. By showing how it was that our 
masters led us into error we shall be able to point out the 
way in which such errors may be avoided. 



CHAPTER XII 

It IS POSSIBLE TO REFORM SCHOOLS 

I. To cure deep-seated maladies is difficult and often 
well-nigh impossible. But if any one offer an efficacious 
remedy, does the sick man reject his services? Does he 
not rather wish to obtain aid as quickly as possible, and 
especially if he think that the physician is guided not by 
mere opinion but by solid reason ? We, at any rate, in 
this our undertaking, have reached the point at which we 
must make plain (i) what we actually promise, and (2) on 
what principles we intend to proceed. 

2. We promise, then, such a system of education that 

(i.) All the young shall be educated (except those to 
whom God has denied understanding). 

(ii.) And in all those subjects which are able to make a 
man wise, virtuous, and pious. 

(iii.) That the process of education, being a preparation 
for life, shall be completed before maturity is reached. ^ 

(iv.) That this education shall be conducted without 
blows, rigour, or compulsion, as gently and pleasantly as 
possible, and in the most natural manner (just as a 
living body increases in size without any straining or forcible 
extension of the limbs ; since if food, care, and exercise 
are properly supplied, the body grows and becomes strong, 
gradually, imperceptibly, and of its own accord. In the 
same way I maintain that nutriment, care, and exercise, 
prudently supplied to the mind, lead it naturally to wisdom, 
virtue, and piety). 

81 6 



82 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

(v.) That the education given shall be not false but real, 
not superficial but thorough ; that is to say, that the 
rational animal, man, shall be guided, not by the intellects 
of other men, but by his own ; shall not merely read the 
opinions of othersand grasp their meaning or commit them 
to memory and repeat them, but shall himself penetrate to 
the root of things and acquire the habit of genuinely 
understanding and making use of what he learns. 

(vi.) That this education shall not be laborious but very 
easy. The class instruction shall last only four hours each 
day, and shall be conducted in such a manner that one 
master may teach hundreds of pupils at the same time, 
with ten times as little trouble as is now expended on the 
teaching of one. 

3. But who will have faith in these things before he 
see them? It is a well-known peculiarity of men that 
before a remarkable discovery is made they wonder how 
it can be possible, while after its achievement they are 
surprised that it was not discovered before. When Archi- 
medes undertook for King Hiero to move down to the sea 
with one hand an immense ship that a hundred men were 
not able to stir, his proposal was received with laughter; 
but its accomplishment was viewed with stupefaction. 

4. When Columbus suspected that there were new 
islands in the west, no one, with the exception of the King 
of Castille, was willing to hear him or give him any assist- 
ance towards making the experiment. It is related that 
his very companions on the voyage, in despair at their 
frequent disappointments, were within a little of throwing 
him into the sea and returning with their task unfulfilled. 
But, in spite of all, that vast new continent was discovered, 
and now we all wonder how it could have remained so 
long unknown. That well-known jest of Columbus illus- 
trates the same point. For when, at a banquet, some 
Spaniards, who were envious that an Italian should have 
the glory of such a discovery, began to mock him, and 
tauntingly said that the other hemisphere had been dis- 
covered not by skill but by chance, and could have been 



IT IS POSSIBLE TO REFORM SCHOOLS 83 

just as easily discovered by anybody else, he proposed an 
elegant problem. "How, he asked, "can a hen's egg, 
unsupported, be made to stand on its end ? " When all 
had tried in vain to do this, he tapped the shell gently 
upon the table, cracked it, and in this way made it stand. 
The others laughed, and exclaimed that they could do the 
same thing. " No doubt you can, now that you have seen 
how it can be done," said he, "but how is it that no one 
could do it before me ? " 

5. I believe that the same thing would have happened 
if John Faust, the inventor of printing, had made it known 
that he possessed a method by which one man, within 
a week, could copy more books than ten of the fastest 
copyists could copy in a year in the ordinary way ; that 
the books would be better written ; that from beginning to 
end all the copies would be exactly similar ; and that all 
would be absolutely free from errors provided that one 
copy had been corrected. Who would have believed him ? 
Who would not have thought it a riddle, or a piece of vain 
and foolish boasting? And yet every child knows now 
that this is sober truth. 

6. If Berthold Schwartz, the inventor of muskets, had 
addressed the archers with these words : "Your bows, your 
catapults, and your slings are of little worth. I will give 
you a weapon which, without any human force, by the 
agency of fire alone, will not only hurl forth stones and 
iron, but will propel them farther and with more certainty, 
so that they will strike, uproot, or lay low whatever comes 
in their way." Which of them would not have received 
him with laughter ? So much is it the custom to consider 
everything new as marvellous and incredible. 

7. Nor could the American Indians comprehend how 
one man is able to communicate his thoughts to another 
without the use of speech, without a messenger, but by 
simply sending a sheet of paper. Yet with us a man of 
the meanest intelligence can understand this. 

Thus do the perplexities of one age afford amusement 
to the next. 



84 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

8. I can easily see that this will happen to my new 
undertaking ; in fact, I have already experienced it. Some 
people are certain to be indignant that there are men who 
find imperfections in the schools, books, and methods in 
use, and who dare to promise something unusual and ex- 
traordinary. 

9. It would be easy for me to appeal to results as the 
most trustworthy witnesses (such confidence do I place in 
my God). But since I am writing this, not for the un- 
learned crowd, but for men of education, I must give 
demonstrative proof that it is possible to imbue all the 
young with knowledge, virtue, and piety, and to do so 
without that unpleasantness and difficulty continually 
experienced by the teachers, no less than by the learners, 
under the old system. 

10. The one and sufficient demonstration is this : That /j 
each individual creature not only suffers itself to be easily 
led in the direction which its nature finds congenial, but is ,■ 
actually impelled towards the desired goal, and suffers pain 
if any obstacle be interposed. 

11. A bird learns to fly, a fish to swim, and a beast to 
run without any compulsion. They do these things of 
their own accord as soon as they feel that their limbs are 
sufficiently strong. Water runs downhill of its own accord, 
and, in the same way, fire burns when fuel and a current 
of air are supplied ; a round stone rolls down hill, while a 
square stone remains stationary ; the eye and a mirror 
receive the impression of an object when there is sufficient 
light, and seeds sprout when their surroundings are 
suitably warm and damp. In fact, each of these things 
strives to fulfil the function for which it is naturally fitted, 
and does this more perfectly when assisted, no matter how 
slight the assistance may be. 

12. Since then, as we saw in chap, v., the seeds of 
knowledge, of virtue, and of piety exist in all men (with 
the exception of monstrosities), it follows of necessity that 
they need nothing but a gentle impulse and prudent 
guidance. / 



IT IS POSSIBLE TO REFORM SCHOOLS 85 

13. But, it is objected, it is not out of every piece of 
wood that a Mercury can be carved. I answer : But out 
of every human being, if he be not utterly corrupt, a man 
can be formed. 

14. But our inner strength, some one will remark, has 
been weakened by the Fall. I reply, weakened, yes, but 
not extinguished. Even our bodily force, if it be in bad 
condition, can be restored to its natural vigour by walking, 
running, and artificial forms of exercise. For, although 
the first created were able to walk, speak, and think as 
soon as they came into existence, while we cannot do so 
unless taught by practice, it does not therefore follow that 
these things cannot be learned without perplexity, labour, 
and uncertainty. For, if we learn without very great diffi- 
culty to perform the functions of the body, such as eating, 
drinking, walking, and jumping, why should we not learn 
to perform those of the mind with similar ease, if the 
proper instruction be given ? Again, in a few months 
a horse-trainer can teach a horse to trot, jump, run in a 
circle, and perform evolutions to signs given by a whip ; 
a mere circus performer teaches a bear to dance, a hare to 
beat the drum, and a dog to plough, to wrestle, or to 
divine; a weak old woman can teach her parrot, her 
magpie, or her crow to imitate a human voice or a melody ; 
and all these things can be taught in a short time, although 
they are contrary to nature. And shall not a man be^ 
easily taught those things to which nature, I will not say 
admits him , or leads him, b ut rather urges and impels him ? 
The trainers' uf ■ aiiiiiialT~would laugh at any one who ^ 
seriously brought forward this argument. 

15. But it is objected that, owing to the difficulty of 
the subjects to be learned, all men cannot grasp them. 
I reply : What is that difficulty ? Does there exist any 
body of such a dark colour that it cannot be reflected in a 
mirror, if placed conveniently in the light ? Is there any- 
thing that cannot be painted on a canvas, provided that 
the man who paints has learned the art of painting ? Is 
there any seed or root that the earth cannot receive and 



86 THE GREA7 DIDACTIC 

bring to germination by its warmth, if the gardener under- 
stand when, where, and how it should be sown ? More- 
over, there is in the world no rock or tower of such a 
height that it cannot be scaled by any man (provided he 
lack not feet) if ladders are placed in the proper position 
or steps are cut in the rock, made in the right place, and 
furnished with railings against the danger of falling over. 
It is true that very few scale the heights of wisdom, though 
many start gaily on the journey, and that those who get any 
distance do so at the cost of toil, loss of breath, weariness, 
and giddiness ; this, however, does not prove that there 
is anything inaccessible to the human intellect, but only 
that the steps are not well disposed, or are insufficient, 
dangerous, and in bad repair — in other words, that the 
method is complicated. It is an undoubted fact that any 
man can attain any height that he may desire by means 
of steps that are properly disposed, sufficient in number, 
solid, and safe. 

1 6. It will be urged, Some men have such weak 
intellects that it is not possible for them to acquire 
knowledge. I answer. It is scarcely possible to find a 
mirror so dulled that it will not reflect images of some kind, 
or for a tablet to have such a rough surface that nothing 
can be inscribed on it. Again, if the mirror be soiled by 
dirt or by spots, it must first be cleaned ; if the tablet be 
rough, it must be polished ; both will then perform their 
functions. In the same way, if teachers take sufficient 
trouble, men will become polished, and finally all men will 
understand all things (I stand firmly by my watchword 
because my fundamental principles prove correct). There 
is naturally a difference in intellects, and while those who 
are slow may only be able to attain to one stage of 
knowledge, the more gifted advance higher and higher, 
from one object to another, and collect new observations 
which are of great utility. Finally, though there may be 
some intellects that do not admit of culture, just as knotty 
wood is unsuitable for carving, even then my assertion will 
hold good for men of ordinary capacity, of whom, through 



IT IS POSSIBLE TO REFORM SCHOOLS 87 

God's grace, there is always a sufficiency. Indeed a man 
quite wanting in intellect is as rare a phenomenon as one 
who, from his birth, has lacked his full complement of 
limbs. For, in truth, blindness, deafness, lameness, and 
weakness seldom accompany a man from his cradle, but 
are caused by his own negligence; and thus it is with 
exceptional weakness of intellect. 

17. A further objection is brought forward : With 
many not the capacity to learn but the inclination is lack- 1 
ing, and to compel these against their will is as unpleasant I 
as it is useless. I answer : There is a story told of a 
philosopher who had two pupils, of whom one was idle and 
the other industrious. Both were sent away by their 
master; for one would not learn, though able to do so, 
while the other could not, though anxious to acquire 
knowledge. But how does the matter stand if it be shown 
that the teacher himself is the reason of the pupil's aversion 
to learning? Truly did Aristotle say that all men are 
born anxious to acquire knowledge, and that this is so we 
have seen in chapters v. and xi. In practice, however, the 
tender indulgence of parents hinders the natural tendency 
of children, and later on frivolous society leads them into 
idle ways, while the various occupations of city and court 
life, and the external circumstances which surround them, 
turn them away from their real inclinations. Thus it comes 
to pass that they show no desire to investigate what is 
unknown, and cannot concentrate their thoughts with ease. 
(For just as the tongue, when permeated with one flavour, 
judges another with difficulty, so the mind, when occupied 
with one subject, finds it hard to give its attention to 
another.) In these cases the external distraction must 
first be removed ; nature will then assert itself with its 
original vigour, and the desire for knowledge will once 
more be apparent. ^' But how many of those who undertake 
to educate the young appreciate the necessity of first 
teaching them how to acquire knowledge? The turner 
shapes a block of wood with his axe before he turns it ; 
the blacksmith heats iron before he hammers it ; the cloth- 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



weaver, before he spins his wool, first cleans, washes, cards, 
and fulls it ; the shoemaker, before he sews the shoe, pre- 
pares, shapes, and smooths the leather; but who, I ask, 
ever thinks it necessary that the teacher, in the same way, 
should make his pupils anxious for information, capable of 
receiving instruction, and therefore ready for a many-sided 
education, before he begins to place knowledge before 
them? Teachers almost invariably take their pupils as 
they find them ; they turn them, beat them, card them, 
comb them, drill them into certain forms, and expect them 
to become a finished and polished product; and if the 
result does not come up to their expectations (and I ask 
you how could it ?) they are indignant, angry, and furious. 
And yet we are surprised that some men shrink and recoil 
from such a system. Far more is it matter for surprise 
that any one can endure it at all. // 

1 8. This is a suitable place in which to make a few 
remarks about differences of character. Some men are 
sharp, others dull ; some soft and yielding, others hard and 
unbending; some eager after knowledge, others more anxious 
to acquire mechanical skill. From these three pairs of 
contradictory characters we get in all six distinct divisions. 

19. In the first division must be placed those who 
are sharp-witted, anxious to learn, and easily influenced. 
These, more than all others, are suited for instruction. 
There is no need to provide them with what we may term 
a nutritive diet of knowledge, for, like goodly trees, they 
grow in wisdom of themselves. Nothing is needed but 
foresight ; for they should not be allowed to hurry on too 
fast and thus to tire themselves out and wither away before 
their time. 

20. Others are sharp-witted, but inclined to be slow and 
lazy. These must be urged on. 

21. In the third place we have those who are sharp- 
witted and anxious to learn, but who at the same time are 
perverse and refractory. These are usually a great source 
of difficulty in schools, and for the most part are given 
up in despair. If treated in the right way, however, 



IT IS POSSIBLE TO REFORM SCHOOLS 89 

they frequently develope into the greatest men. A good 
example of this type is Themistocles, the great Athenian 
general. As a youth he was very wild, so that his tutor 
said to him : " My boy, you will not develope into anything 
mediocre ; you will be either of great use or of great harm 
to your country." And later on, when people wondered 
at his strange character, he used to say, " Wild colts make 
the best horses, if only they are properly trained." Indeed, 
this was the case with Bucephalus, the horse of Alexander 
the Great. For, when Alexander saw that his father 
Philip was abouf to give away this unruly animal, which 
would suffer no rider on his back, he said : " What a 
magnificent horse these people are spoiling. They are 
unskilled and do not know how to treat it ! " He forth- 
with took the horse in hand, and with marvellous skill (for 
he never used blows) he got it into such a condition that 
not only then but ever afterwards it carried him well, and 
no horse more noble or more worthy of his great master 
could be found in the whole world. Plutarch, who tells us 
this anecdote, remarks : " This story reminds us that many 
men of good parts are ruined by their teachers, who, in 
their inability to rule or to guide free men, treat them not 
as horses but as asses." 

22. In the fourth place we have those who are flexible 
and anxious to learn, but who at the same time are slow 
and heavy. These can follow in the footsteps of the last- 
mentioned. But to render this possible the teacher must 
meet their weak natures half-way, must lay no heavy burden 
on them, must not demand anything excessive, but rather 
have patience, help them, strengthen them, and set them 
right, that they may not be disheartened. Though such 
pupils take longer to come to maturity, they will probably 
last all the better, like fruit that ripens late. And, just as 
the impression of a seal made in lead lasts a long time, 
though hard to make, so these men have more stable 
characters than those who are more gifted, and do not 
easily forget what they have once learned. At school, 
therefore, they should be given every opportunity. 



go THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

23. The fifth type are those who are weak-minded and 
at the same time lazy and idle. With these also a great 
improvement can be made, provided they are not obstinate 
But great skill and patience are necessary. 

24. Finally, we have those whose intellects are weak 
and whose dispositions are perverse and wicked as well. 
These seldom come to any good. But, as it is certain that 
nature always provides some antidote for pernicious things, 
and that barren trees can be rendered fruitful if properly 
transplanted, we ought not to give up all hope, but should 
see if the perverseness, -at least, cannot be combated and 
got rid of. It is only when this proves impossible that 
the twisted and knotted piece of wood may be cast aside, 
since it is useless to attempt to carve a Mercury out of it. 
" Barren land," says Cato, " should not be cultivated ; nor 
even once ploughed." But an intellect of this kind, amen- 
able to no treatment, can scarcely be found in a thousand, 
and this is a great proof of God's goodness. 

25. The substance of these remarks is in harmony with 
the following saying of Plutarch : " For the characters of 
young children, no man is responsible ; but it is in our power 
to make them virtuous by a proper training." Mark this 
well ; he says " in our power." For the gardener can 
unfailingly train a struggling shoot into a tree, by using 
his skill in transplanting. 

26. The four following reasons show that all the young, 
though of such different dispositions, may be instructed 
and educated by the same method. 

27. Firstly : For all men the goal is the same, namely, 
knowledge, virtue, and piety. 

28. Secondly: All men, though their dispositions may 
differ, possess the same human nature, and are endowed 
with the same organs of sense and of reason. 

29. Thirdly: The differences of character are caused 
by nothing more than a superfluity or a lack of some of 
the elements in the natural harmony, just as bodily 
diseases are nothing but abnormal states of wetness or 
dryness, of heat or cold. For example, what is sharpness 



IT IS POSSIBLE TO REFORM SCHOOLS 91 

of intellect but the fineness and rapid motion of the vital 
spirit in the brain, which passes through the sensory lobes 
with very great speed, and rapidly apprehends external 
objects? But if no obstacle be put in the way of this 
rapid motion, it dissipates the intellect and leaves the 
brain either weak or sluggish. Hence it is that so many 
precocious boys either die young or become stupid. 

On the other hand, what is stupidity but a clammy 
viscosity of the humours of the brain, which can only be 
set in motion by constant suggestion ? What are insolence 
and intractability but an excess of spirit and stubbornness, 
which must be tempered by discipline? What is slack- 
ness but a great lack of spirit which must be made good ? 
Just as, then, the best remedies for bodily diseases are not 
those which try to put one extreme to flight by another 
(for this only makes the struggle greater), but those which 
seek to moderate all extremes, so that there shall not be 
too little on one side and too much on the other ; so the 
best remedy against the errors of the human mind is a 
didactic method of such a kind that by its means excess 
and defect may be neutralised in the natural disposition, 
and that all the mental principles may be brought into 
harmony and into a pleasant agreement. Our method, 
therefore, is intended for intellects in which no element 
exists in an extreme form (and indeed these are always the 
most common), so that neither reins may be wanting to 
restrain active minds (that they may not wear themselves 
out before their time) nor spurs and goads to urge on the 
laggards. 

30. Finally : Every excess or defect of disposition can 
be counteracted as long as it is not of old standing. In 
warfare, recruits are mixed with old soldiers ; the weak and 
the strong, the sluggish and the active, fight under the same 
standard and obey the same orders as long as the battle 
continues. But, when the victory is gained, each pursues 
the enemy as far as he is able, and takes as much booty as 
he wants. Thus it is in the camp of knowledge ; the slow 
are mixed with the swift, the weak with the quick-witted, 



92 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

the obstinate with the yielding, and are guided by the 
same precepts and examples as long as guidance is 
necessary. But, when school-days are over, each one must 
finish the remainder of his studies with what speed he can. 
31. When I talk of admixture of intellects, I refer not 
so much to the spot where the instruction takes place as 
to the additional assistance that can be given to the pupil. 
For instance, if the teacher observe that one boy is cleverer 
than the rest, he can give him two or three stupid boys 
to teach ; if he perceive one more trustworthy than the 
others, he may allow him to watch and to control those 
who have less character. Both will gain great advantage 
from this, provided that the teacher keep his eye on them, 
to see that everything is conducted as reason prescribes. 
But it is now time to have done with preliminaries, and to 
deal with the real subject of this treatise. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE BASIS OF SCHOOL REFORM MUST BE EXACT ORDER 
IN ALL THINGS 

I. We find on investigation that the principle which really 
holds together the fabric of this world of ours, down to 
its smallest detail, is none other than order ; that is to say, 
the proper division of what comes before and what comes 
after, of the superior and the subordinate, of the large and 
the small, of the similar and dissimilar, according to place, 
time, number, size, and weight, so that each may fulfil its 
function well. Order, therefore, has been called the soul 
of affairs. For everything that is well ordered preserves 
its position and its strength as long as it maintains its 
order ; it is when it ceases to do so that it grows weak, 
totters, and falls. This may be seen clearly in instances 
taken from nature and from art. 

2. Through what agency, I ask, does the world maintain 
its present condition ? what is it that gives it its great 
stability ? It is this, that each creature, obeying the com- 
mand of nature, restrains its action within the proper 
limits ; and thus, by careful observation of order in small 
details, the order of the universe is maintained. 

3. Through what .agency is the flux of time divided so 
accurately and so continuously into years, months, and 
days ? Through none but the inflexible order of the vault 
of heaven. 

4. What enables bees, ants, and spiders to do work of 
such fineness that the mind of man finds it easier to marvel 

93 



94 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

at than to imitate it? Nothing but their natural talent 
for harmoniously combining order, number, and mass in 
their constructions. 

S- What is it that constitutes the human body such a 
marvellous instrument that it can perform almost countless 
functions, even though it have very few resources at its 
disposal? I mean, that with the few limbs it possesses, 
it can produce works whose complexity is so wondrous 
that nothing remains to be desired ? It is without question 
the harmonious disposition of the limbs, and of their 
constituent parts, that brings this about. 

6. What is it that makes it possible for a single mind 
to rule the whole body in which it dwells, and to direct so 
many operations at the same time? Nothing but the 
harmonious order in which the limbs are connected, and 
which enables them to obey the slightest hint given by the 
mind, and to set themselves in motion immediately. 

7. How is it that a single man, a king or an emperor, 
can rule whole nations ; that, although there are as many 
wills as there are individuals, all subordinate themselves to 
the service of that one man, and that, if his affairs go well, 
the affairs of each subject also must prosper? Again it 
is order that brings this about. Through its agency all 
are held together by the connecting bands of law and of 
obedience, so that some subjects are directly subordinate 
to and in immediate contact with the supreme ruler, 
while others in their turn are subordinate to these, and so 
on down to the meanest serf. The arrangement thus 
resembles a chain in which each link is intimately con- 
nected so that if the first be moved or remain at rest all 
the others will follow suit. 

8. How was it that Hiero, unaided, could move a 
weight which hundreds of men had in vain tried to stir? 
Assuredly it was by means of a cleverly-devised machine, 
in which the cylinders, wheels, and other parts were 
arranged in such a way that when one worked on the other 
the force applied was much increased. 

9. The terrible operations of artillery, by which walls 



ORDER THE BASIS OF SCHOOL REFORM 95 

are broken down, towers are shattered, and armies are laid 
low, depend on nothing but the proper arrangement of 
materials, so that the active is placed in close connection 
with the passive element ; that is to say, on the proper 
mixing of saltpetre with sulphur (the coldest substance with 
the hottest), on the proper construction of the cannon, on 
its being skilfully loaded with powder and missiles, and, 
lastly, on its being correctly pointed at the objects to be 
hit. If one of these conditions be not properly fulfilled, 
the whole apparatus is useless. 

10. How is it that the processes of printing, by which 
books can be multiplied quickly, neatly, and correctly, are 
properly carried out? Assuredly by means of order. 
The type must be cut, moulded, and polished, placed 
suitably in the type- boxes, and then arranged in the 
right order, while the paper must be prepared, damped, 
stretched, and placed under the press, 

1 1 . To take another example of mechanism. How is 
it that a carriage, a construction of wood and iron, can be 
so easily drawn by the horses that are fastened to it, and 
can be of such use for the conveyance of men and 
burdens? This is brought about by nothing but the 
skilful arrangement of wood and of iron in the wheels, the 
axle-trees, and the shafts. If one of these parts give way, 
the whole construction is useless. 

12. How is it that men can trust themselves to the 
stormy sea in a construction made of a few pieces of 
wood? How is it that they make their way to the 
antipodes and return safe and sound? It is nothing but 
the proper combination of keel, mast, rudder, compass, 
etc., in the ship that enables them to do so. If any one 
of these fail in its action, they are in great danger of 
shipwreck or of foundering. 

13. Finally, how is it that the machine for measuring 
time, the clock, which is nothing but a well-arranged and 
well-devised disposition of iron parts, moves harmoniously 
and evenly, and marks off minutes, hours, days, months, 
and sometimes years ? and this not only for the eyes but 



96 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

for the ears as well, that it may give some sign at night 
and to those at a distance? How is it that such an 
instrument can wake a man out of sleep at a given hour, 
and can strike a light to enable him to see ? How is it 
that it can indicate the quarters of the moon, the positions 
of the planets, and the eclipses? Is it not a truly 
marvellous thing that a machine, a soulless thing, can move 
in such a life-like, continuous, and regular manner ? Before 
clocks were invented would not the existence of such things 
have seemed as impossible as that trees could walk or stones 
speak ? Yet every one can see that they exist now. 

14. What is the hidden power that brings this to 
pass ? Nothing but the all-ruling force of order ; that is 
to say, the force derived from arranging all the parts 
concerned according to their number, size, and import- 
ance, and in such a manner that each one shall perform 
its own proper function as well as work harmoniously with 
and assist the other parts whose action is necessary to 
produce the desired result ; that is to say, the size of each 
part must be carefully regulated to suit that of the rest; 
each part must fit properly into those which surround it ; 
and the general laws that regulate the equal distribution 
of force to the several parts must be observed. In such 
a case all the processes are more exact than in a living 
body controlled by one mind. But if any part get out of 
position, crack, break, become loose or bent, though it be 
the smallest wheel, the most insignificant axle, or the tiniest 
screw, the whole machine stops still or at least goes wrong, 
and thus shows us plainly that everything" depends on the 
harmonious working of the parts. 

15. The art of teaching, therefore, demands nothing 
more than the skilful arrangement of time, of the subjects 

J taught, and of the method. As soon as we have succeeded 
in finding the proper method it will be no harder to teach 
school-boys, in any number desired, than with the help of 
the printing-press to cover a thousand sheets daily with 
the neatest writing, or with Archimedes' machine to move 
houses, towers, and immense weights, or to cross the 



ORDER THE BASIS OF SCHOOL REFORM 97 
\ 

ocean in a ship, and journey to the New World. The 
whole process, too, will be as free from friction as is the 
movement of a clock whose motive power is supplied by 
the weights. It will be as pleasant to see education 
carried out on my plan as to look at an automatic machine 
of this kind, and the process will be as free from failure as 
are these mechanical contrivances, when skilfully made. 1 
16. Let us therefore endeavour, in the name of the 
Almighty, to organise schools in such a way that in these 
points they may bear the greatest resemblance to a clock 
which is put together with the greatest skill, and is cunningly 
chased with the most delicate tools. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE EXACT ORDER OF INSTRUCTION MUST BE BORROWED 
FROM NATURE, AND MUST BE OF SUCH A KIND THAT 
NO OBSTACLE CAN HINDER IT. 

fi. Let us then commence to seek out, in God's name, 
the principles on which, as on an immovable rock, the 
method of teaching and of learning can be grounded. If 
we wish to find a remedy for the defects of nature, it is in 
nature herself that we must look for it, since it is certain 
that art ca n do nothing unless it imita t e nature. 
■^"2: 'a lew example will'make this clear. We see a fish 
swimming in the water ; it is its natural mode of progres- 
sion. If a man wish to imitate it, it is necessary for him 
to use in a similar manner the limbs that are at his dis- 
posal; instead of fins he must employ his arms, and 
instead of a tail, his feet, moving them as a fish moves its 
fins. Even ships are constructed on this plan ; in the 
place of fins they must employ oars or sails, and in the 
place of a tail, the rudder. We see a bird flying through 
the air ; it is its natural mode of progression. Whien 
Daedalus wished, to imitate it, he had to take wings (large 
enough to carry such a heavy body) and set them in 
motion. 

3. The organ of sound production in animals is a pipe 
consisting of muscular rings, provided at the top with the 
thyroid cartilage, as with a lid, and at the bottom with the 
lungs, as with a wind-bag. 



NATURE IS OUR GUIDE 99 

On this model flutes, whistles, and other wind instru- 
ments are made. 

4. It has been discovered that the substance that] 
causes thunder in the clouds, and hurls down fire and 
stones, is saltpetre ignited in combination with sulphur. 
In imitation of this, gunpowder is now made out of sulphur 
and saltpetre. When this is ignited and fired from 
cannon, a mimic storm, with thunder and lightning, is 
produced. 

5. It has been found that water always tends to 
preserve a level surface, even in vessels that communicate 
but are at some distance from one another. The experi- 
ment has been made of conducting water through pipes, 
and it has been found that it will rise from any depth to 
any height, provided that it originally fall from that height. 
This is an artificial arrangement, but it is also natural; 
for the exact mode in which the action takes place is 
artificial, but the law on which the action depends is 
natural. 

6. The vault of heaven, on observation, has been 
found to revolve continuously, thus, by the various revolu- 
tions of the planets, producing the changes of the seasons 
which are so pleasant. In imitation of this an instru- 
ment has been devised, representing the daily revolution 
of the vault of heaven. It is composed of wheels 
arranged so that not only can one be driven by the other, 
but that all can be put into continuous motion. Now it 
was necessary to construct this instrument out of movable 
and immovable parts, as the universe itself is constructed, 
and consequently we find a solid pedestal, pillars, and 
circular rings, corresponding to the earth, the immovable 
element in the universe, while in place of the movable 
orbits in the heaven we have the various wheels. But 
because it was impossible to command any one wheel to 
turn round and to carry others with them (as the Creator 
gave the heavenly lights the power to move themselves, 
and others with them), the motive power has to be 
borrowed from nature, and a weight or a spring is used. 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



Either a weight is hung from the axle of the principal 
wheel, and by its tension causes the axle, the wheel to 
which it belongs, and the other wheels to turn ; or a long 
strip of steel is forcibly bound round the axle, and by its 
endeavours to get free and straighten itself, makes the 
axle and the wheel turn round. In order that the rotation 
may not be too fast, but slow like that of the vault of 
heaven, other wheels are added, of which the last, driven 
by two teeth only, makes a clicking noise and is analogous 
to the change between the coming and the going light, 
or to that between day and night. In addition to that 
part of the mechanism which gives the signal for the 
hours and the quarters, skilfully -devised triggers are 
added, which set it in motion at the right time, and 
then stop it again, just as nature, by the movement 
of the vault of heaven, allows winter, spring, summer, 
and autumn to come and to depart again at the right 
moment. 

7. It is now quite clear that that order, which is the 
dominating principle in the art of teaching all things to 

all men, should be, and can be, hnrrnwpH^ fmm nn ntl^pr 

so urce hut the operations of nature. As soon as this 
principle is thoroughly secured, the processes of art will 
proceed as easily and as spontaneously as those of nature. ^ 
Very aptly does Cicero say : " If we take nature as our 
guide, she will never lead us astray," and also: "Under the . 
guidance of nature it is impossible to go astray." This is 
our belief, and our advice is to watch the operations of 
nature carefully and to imitate them. 

8. But some one may laugh at our expectations and 
may cast in our teeth the saying of Hippocrates : " Life 
is short, and art is long; opportunities are fleeting, 
experience is deceptive, and judgment is difficult." Here 
are five obstacles, the reasons why so few scale the heights 
of wisdom : — 

(i.) The shortness of life; through which so many are 
snatched away in youth before their preparations for life 
are finished, (ii.) The perplexing crowd of objects which 



NATURE IS OUR GUIDE 



the mind has to grasp, and which makes the endeavour to 
include all things within the limits of our knowledge, very 
weary work, (iii.) The lack of opportunities to acquire the 
arts, or their rapid departure when they occur (for the 
years of youth, which are the most suitable for mental 
culture, are spent in playing, and the succeeding years, 
in the present condition of mankind, bring far more 
opportunities for worthless than for serious matters) ; or if 
a suitable opportunity present itself, it vanishes before we 
can grasp it. (iv.) The weakness of our intellects and the 
lack of sound judgment. The result of this is that we 
get no farther than the outside shell, and never attain to 
the kernel, (v.) Finally, the circumstance that, if any wish 
to grasp the true nature of things by patient observation 
and experiments repeated as often as possible, the process 
is too wearisome, and is at the same time deceptive and 
uncertain (for instance, in such accurate observations the 
most careful observer may make an error, and as soon 
as one error creeps in, the whole observation becomes 
worthless). 

9. If all this be true, how can we dare hope for a 
universal, sure, easy, and thorough road to learning? I 
answer : Experience teaches us that this is true, but the 
same experience teaches us also that the proper remedies i 
can be found. These things have been ordained thus by' 
God, the all-wise arranger of the universe, and are for our 
good. He has given us a short span of life because, in 
our present state of corruption, we should be unable to 
employ a longer one profitably. For if we, who are born 
and die, and with whom the end of life is but a few years 
distant from the beginning, give ourselves up to folly : 
what would we not do if we had hundreds or thousands 
of years before us? God, therefore, has only wished to 
grant as much time as He deemed sufificient preparation 
for a better life. For this purpose life is long enough, if 
only we know how to use it. 

10. The diversity of objects has been equally ordained 
by God for our advantage, that there might be no 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



lack of material to occupy, exercise, and educate our 
minds. 

11. God permits opportunities to be fleeting, and only 
to be grasped by the fore-lock, that we may learn to seize 
them the very instant they present themselves. 

1 2. Experience is deceptive in order that our attention 
may be excited, and that we may feel the necessity of 
penetrating to the essential nature of things. 

13. Finally, judgment is difficult, in order that we may 
be urged on to eagerness and to continual effort, and that 
the hidden wisdom of God, which permeates all things, 
may, to our great satisfaction, become ever more apparent. 

" If everything could be easily understood," says St. 
Augustine, " men would neither seek wisdom with keenness, 
nor find it with exultation." 

14. We must therefore see in what way those obstacles 
which God's foresight has placed in our paths to make us 
keener and more energetic may, with God's aid, be set 
aside. This can only be attained — 

(i.) By lengthening our lives, that they may be sufficiently 
long for the scheme proposed. 

(ii.) By curtailing the subjects taught, that they may be 
proportionate to the duration of life. 

(iii.) By seizing opportunities, and not letting them slip 
away unused. 

(iv.) By unlocking the intellect, that it may grasp things 
with ease. 

(v.) By laying a foundation that is not to be shaken, 
and that will not deceive us, in the place of a tottering 
fabric of superficial observation. 

15. We will therefore proceed, taking nature as our 
guide, to seek out the principles : — 

(i.) Of prolonging life. 

(ii.) Of curtailing the subjects, that knowledge may be 
acquired faster. 

(iii.) Of seizing opportunities, that knowledge may be 
acquired without fail. 



NATURE IS OUR GUIDE 103 

(iv.) Of unlocking the intellect, that knowledge may be 
easily acquired. 

(v.) Of sharpening the judgment, that knowledge may 
be thoroughly acquired. 

To each of these points we shall devote a chapter. The 
question of curtailing the subjects of instruction will be 
treated of last. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE BASIS OF THE PROLONGATION OF LIFE 

I. Aristotle, as well as Hippocrates, has complained of the 
shortness of human life, and accuses nature of granting a 
long term of years to stags, ravens, and other animals, 
while she hems in by narrow boundaries the lives of men 
born to great responsibility. Seneca, however, opposes 
this view, and wisely says : "The life that we receive is not 
short, unless we make it so. We suffer from no lack of 
years, but carouse away those that are granted us. Life 
is long, if we do but know how to use it." And again : 
" Our lives are sufficiently long, and, if we order them well, 
allow us to bring the greatest undertakings to completion " 
{^De Brevitate Vita, cc. i. and ii.). 

2. If this be correct, and indeed it is very true, it is 
grossly culpable on our parts if our lives do not prove 
sufficiently long to bring great undertakings to completion, 
since the reason is that we waste our lives, partly by taking 
no care of them, so that they do not reach the natural 
limit, and partly by frittering them away on worthless 
objects. 

3. A trustworthy authority (Hippolytus Guarino)^^ 
asserts, and gives good reasons for his assertion, that a 
man of the most delicate constitution, if he come into the 
world without any deformity, possesses enough vitality to 
carry him on to his sixtieth year; while a very strong man 
should attain to his hundredth year. If any die before this 
age (it is, of course, well known that most men die as 

104 



THE BASIS OF THE PROLONGATION OF LIFE 105 

children, as youths, or in middle age), they are themselves 
to blame, since, by excesses, or by neglect of the natural 
demands of life, they have undermined their own health 
and that of their children, and have hastened their death. 

4. The examples of men who, before middle age, have 
reached a point to which others could not attain in the 
course of a long life, prove that a short lifetime {i.e. one of 
fifty, forty, or thirty years) is sufficient to realise the highest 
aims, if only it be properly used. Alexander the Great 
died when he was thirty-three years old, and he was not 
only a master of all the sciences, but also conqueror of the 
world, which he had subdued less by sheer force than by 
the wisdom of his plans, and the rapidity with which he 
put them into execution. Giovanni Pico Mirandola,^* who 
was even younger than Alexander when he died, attained 
by his philosophical studies such proficiency in all the 
departments of human knowledge, that he was considered 
the marvel of his age. 

5. To take one more example, Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
remained only thirty-four years on earth, and in that time 
completed the task of Redemption. This He undoubtedly 
did to prove (for with Him every event has a mystic mean- 
ing) that whatever length of life a man may enjoy, it is 
sufficient to serve him as a preparation for eternity. 

6. I cannot leave this question without quoting a golden 
saying of Seneca (out of his ninety-fourth letter) : " I have," 
he says, " found many men who are just in their dealings 
with men, but few who are just in their dealings with God. 
We daily lament our fate ; but what does it matter how soon 
we quit this world, since we must certainly quit it one day 
or other ? Life is long if it be full, and it becomes full if 
the spirit exert its power on itself; if it learn the secret of 
self-control." And again : " I entreat of you, my Lucilius ! 
let us strive that our lives, like earthly jewels, may be, not 
of great bulk, but of great weight " ; and a little farther 
on : " Let us, therefore, deem that man one of the blest, 
who has used well the time allotted to him, no matter how 
short it may have been. For he has seen the true light. 



io6 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

He has not been one of the common herd ; but has lived 
a full life, and has come to maturity." And again : " As a 
perfect man can exist in a small body, so can a perfect life 
be found in a short term of years. The duration of life is 
a purely accidental circumstance. Do you ask which is 
the path of life that reaches farthest ? It is the path that 
leads to wisdom. He who attains wisdom, has reached not 
only the farthest, but also the highest goal." 

7. Against this shortness of life, which is complained of, 
there are two remedies for us and for our children (and 
therefore for schools also). We must take all possible pre- 
cautions that — 

(i.) Our bodies may be protected from disease and from 
death. 

(ii.) Our minds may be placed in such an environment 
that they can attain all knowledge. 

8. The body must be protected from disease and from 
accidents, firstly, because it is the dwelling-place of the 
soul, which must leave this world as soon as ever the body 
is destroyed. If it fall into bad repair, and suffer damage 
in any of its parts, the soul, its guest, will have an inhos- 
pitable abode. Therefore, if we wish to dwell as long as 
possible in the palace of this world, into which we have 
been brought by God's grace, we must take wise forethought 
for the fabric of our bodies. 

Secondly, this same body is not only intended to be 
the dwelling-place of the reasoning soul, but also "to be 
its instrument, without which it could hear nothing, see 
nothing, say nothing, conduct no business, and could not 
even think. And since nothing exists in the mind that 
has not previously existed in the senses, the intellect takes 
the material of all its thoughts from the senses, and per- 
forms the operations of thought in a manner that may be 
termed " inner sensation," that is to say, by acting on the 
images of things that are brought before it. It follows, 
therefore, that, if the brain receive an injury, the imagina- 
tion will be impaired, and that if an impression be made 
on the body, an impression will be made on the soul 



THE BASIS OF THE PROLONGATION OF LIFE 107 

also. We may therefore unhesitatingly say that all should 
pray that they may have a sound mind in a sound body. 

g. Our bodies are preserved in health and strength by 
a regular and moderate life, and on this we will make a 
few remarks from the medical point of view, taking a tree 
as illustration. In order to maintain its freshness, a tree 
needs three things: (i) a continuous supply of moisture; 
(2) copious transpiration ; (3) an alternating period of rest 
and activity. 

Moisture is necessary, because the tree would wither and 
dry up without it, but it must not be supplied in too great 
a quantity, as, if it be, it causes the roots to rot away. In 
the same way the body needs nourishment, because it 
wastes away from hunger and thirst without it ; but it 
should not obtain a supply so large that the stomach is 
unable to digest it. The greater the moderation with 
which men partake of food, the easier they find its diges- 
tion. The generality of men pay but little attention to 
this law, and by taking too much food diminish their 
Strength and shorten their lives. For death is caused by 
disease, disease by unwholesome juices, and these, in turn, 
by insufficient digestion. Insufficient digestion arises from 
over-nutrition, and takes place when the stomach is so 
full that it cannot digest, and is compelled to supply the 
various members of the body with semi-digested juices, 
and in this case it is impossible that diseases should not 
arise. As the son of Sirach says : " By surfeiting have 
many perished, but he that taketh heed prolongeth his 
life" (Ecclesiasticus xxxvii. 31). 

10. In order that good health may be preserved, it is 
necessary that nourishment be not only moderate in 
quantity, but also simple in quality. When a tree is young 
and tender, the gardener does not water it with wine or 
with milk, but with the liquid that suits trees, namely 
water. Parents should therefore take care not to spoil 
their boys, particularly those who study, or ought to study, 
by giving them dainties. Are we not told that Daniel and 
his companions, the youths of noble birth who had to 



io8 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

apply themselves to the pursuit of wisdom, lived on a diet 
of pulse and water, and that they were found to be more 
capable and more active, and, what is of greater value, 
more intelligent, than all the other youths who ate of the 
king's meat? (Daniel i. 12 sqq^. But of these particulars 
we will speak in another place. 

11. A tree must also transpire, and needs to be copi- 
ously refreshed by wind, rain, and frost ; otherwise it easily 
falls into bad condition, and becomes barren. In the 
same way the human body needs movement, excitement, 
and exercise, and in daily life these must be supplied, 
either artificially or naturally. 

12. Finally, a tree needs rest at stated periods, that it 
may not have to put forth branches, blossoms, and fruit 
perpetually, but may have some time to fulfil its inner 
functions, to develope sap, and in this way to strengthen 
itself. It was for this . reason that God ordained that 
winter should follow summer, namely to guarantee rest to 
all things that live on the earth, and even to the earth 
itself, since He commanded that the fields should lie 
fallow every seventh year (Lev. xxv.). In the same way He 
has ordained the night for man, and for other animals, in 
order that, by sleep and by resting their limbs, they may 
once more gather together the strength which the exer- 
tions of the day have dissipated. Even the smaller 
periods, such as the hours, are devised with a view to 
giving the body and the mind some relaxation ; otherwise 
a strained and unnatural condition would set in. It is, 
therefore, useful to intersperse the labours of the day with 
recreation, amusements, games, merriment, music, and 
such-like diversions, and thus to refresh the inner and the 
outer senses. 

13. He who observes these three principles (that is to 
say, eats moderately, exercises his body, and uses the 
relaxations supplied by nature) cannot fail to preserve his 
life and his health as long as possible. We naturally leave 
out of consideration accidents that depend on a dispensa- 
tion higher than ours. 



THE BASIS OF THE PROLONGATION OF LIFE 109 

We see then that a large portion of the good organisa- 
tion of schools consists of the proper division of work and 
of rest, and depends on the disposition of studies, intervals 
to relieve the strain, and recreation. 

14. This can be attained by the skilful disposition of 
the time devoted to study. Thirty years seem insignifi- 
cant, and are easily dismissed from the tongue. But these 
years include many months, more days, and countless 
hours. In a single period of such duration much progress 
can be made, no matter how slow the process of advance- 
ment may be, provided it be continuous. We can see 
this in the growth of plants. It is impossible for the 
sharpest sight to perceive the process, since it takes place 
too gradually ; but every month some increase is visible, 
and at the end of thirty years every one can see that the 
sapling has turned into a large and shady tree. The same 
holds good in the growth of our bodies. We do not see 
them growing, but only perceive that they have grown. 
So, too, with the acquisition of knowledge by the mind, as 
we learn from the well-known Latin couplet : 

To a little add a little, and to that little yet a little more, 
And in a short time you will pile up a large heap. 

15. He who realises the natural strength of progress 
will easily understand this. From each bud a tree puts 
forth but one shoot yearly ; but in thirty years the same 
tree will possess thousands of shoots, large and small, and 
leaves, blossoms, and fruit without number. Why then 
should it seem impossible to bring the activity of a man to 
any degree of intensity or fulness, and this in twenty or 
thirty years ? Let us examine the matter more closely. 

16. There are twenty-four hours in a day, and if, for 
the daily uses of life, we divide these into three parts, 
setting aside eight hours for sleep, and the same number 
for the external needs of the body (such as care of the 
health, meals, dressing and undressing, agreeable recrea- 
tion, friendly converse, etc.), we have eight hours left for 
the serious work of life. We shall therefore have forty- 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



eight working hours a week (setting aside the seventh day 
for rest). In one year this will amount to 2945 hours, 
and in ten, twenty, or thirty years to an immense number. 

17. If, in each hour, a man could learn a single frag- 
ment of some branch of knowledge, a single rule of some 
mechanical art, a single pleasing story or proverb (the 
acquisition of which would require no effort), what a vast 
stock of learning he might lay by ? 

1 8. Seneca is therefore right when he says : " Life is 
long, if we know how to use it ; it suffices for the com- 
pletion of the greatest undertakings, if it be properly 
employed." It is consequently of importance that we 
understand the art of making the very best use of our 
lives, and to this point we will now direct our investigation. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE UNIVERSAL REQUIREMENTS OF TEACHING AND OF 
LEARNING ; THAT IS TO SAY, A METHOD OF TEACHING 
AND OF LEARNING WITH SUCH CERTAINTY THAT THE 
DESIRED RESULT MUST OF NECESSITY FOLLOW. 

I. Exceptionally fine is that comparison made by our 
Lord Jesus Christ in the gospel, " So is the kingdom of 
God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth ; and 
should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should 
spring up and grow, he knoweth not how. The earth 
beareth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then 
the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is ripe, 
straightway he putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest 
is come" (Mark iv. 26). 

2. The Saviour here shows that it is God who operates 
in everything, and that nothing remains for man but to 
receive the seeds of instruction with a devout heart ; the 
processes of growth and of ripening will then continue of 
themselves, unperceived by him. The duty of the teachers 
of the young, therefore, is none other than to skilfully 
scatter the seeds of instruction in their minds, and to care- 
fully water God's plants. Increase and growth will come 
from above. 

3. Is there any who denies that sowing and planting 
need skill and experience? If an unpractised gardener 
plant an orchard with young trees, the greater number of 
them die, and the few that prosper do so rather through 
chance than through skill. But the trained gardener goes 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



to work carefully, since he is well instructed, where, when, 
and how to act and what to leave alone, that he may meet 
with no failure. It is true that even an experienced man 
meets with failure occasionally (indeed it is scarcely possible 
for a man to take such careful forethought that no error can 
arise) ; but we are now discussing, not the abstract question 
of circumspection and chance, but the art of doing away 
with chance by means of circumspection. 

4. Hitherto the method of instruction has been so 
uncertain that scarcely any one would dare to say : " In so 
many years I will bring this youth to such and such a point ; 
I will educate him in such and such a way." We must 
therefore see if it be possible to place the art of intellectual 
discipline on such a firm basis that sure and certain pro- 
gress may be made. _^ 

5. Since this basis can be properly laid only by assimi- 
lating the processes of art as much as possible to those of 
nature (as we have seen in the 15 th chapter), we will follow 
the metho d of nat ure, taki ng as our example a bird hatch^ 
mg^loutjtsyoung ; and, if we see with what good results 
gardenersTpamters, and builders follow in the track of 
nature, we shall have to recognise that the educator of the 
young should follow in the same path. 

6. If any think this course of action petty or common- 
place, let him consider that from that which is of daily 
occurrence and universal notoriety and which takes place 
with good results in nature and in the arts (the teaching 
art excepted), we are seeking to deduce that which is less 
known and which is necessary for our present purpose. 
Indeed, if the facts from which we derive the principles 
that form the basis for our precepts are known, we can 
entertain hopes that our conclusions will be the more 
evident. 



v-^'t^ 



First Principle 



7. Nature observes a suitable time. 
For example : a bird that wishes to multiply its species, 
does not set about it in winter, when everything is stiff 



UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION 113 

with cold, nor in summer, when everything is parched and 
withered by the heat ; nor yet in autumn, when the vital 
force of all creatures declines with the sun's declining rays, 
and a new winter with hostile mien is approaching ; but in 
spring, when the sun brings back life and strength to all. 
Again, the process consists of several steps. While it is 
yet cold the bird conceives the eggs and warms them inside 
its body, where they are protected from the cold ; when 
the air grows warmer it lays them in its nest, but does not 
hatch them out until the warm season comes, that the 
tender chicks may grow accustomed to light and warmth 
by degrees. 
k*^J?8. Imitation. — In the same way the gardener takes care 
'm do nothing out of season. He does not, therefore, plant 
in the winter (because the sap is then in the roots, prepar- 
ing to mount and nourish the plant later on) ; nor in 
summer (when the sap is already dispersed through the 
branches) ; nor in autumn (when the sap is retiring to the 
roots once more) ; but in spring, when the moisture is 
beginning to rise from the roots and the upper part of the 
plant begins to shoot. Later on, too, it is of great import- 
ance to the little tree that the right time be chosen for 
the various operations that are needful, such as manuring, 
pruning, and cutting. Even the tree itself has its proper 
time for putting forth shoots and blossoms, for growing, and 
for coming to maturity. 

In the same manner the careful builder must choose 
the right time for cutting timber, burning bricks, laying 
foundations, building, and plastering walls, etc. 

9. Deviation. — In direct opposition to this principle, a 
twofold error is committed in schools. 

(i.) The right time for mental exercise is not chosen. 

(ii.) The exercises are not properly divided, so that all 
advance may be made through the several stages needful, 
without any omission. As long as the boy is still a child 
he cannot be taught, because the roots of his understanding 
are still too deep below the surface. As soon as he be- 
comes old, it is too late to teach him, because the intellect 

8 



114 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

and the memory are then failing. In middle age it is 
difficult, because the forces of the intellect are dissipated 
over a variety of objects and are not easily concentrated. 

r The season of youth, therefore, must be chosen. Then life 
and mind are fresh and gathering strength ; then everything 

i is vigorous and strikes root deeply. 

lo. Rectification. — We conclude, therefore, that 
(i.) The education of men should be commenced in the 
springtime of life, that is to say, in boyhood (for boyhood 
is the equivalent of spring, youth of summer, manhood of 
autumn, and old age of winter). 

(ii.) The morning hours are the most suitable for study 
(for here again the morning is the equivalent of spring, 
midday of summer, the evening of autumn, and the night 
of winter). 

! (iii.) All the subjects that are to be learned should be 

I arranged so as to suit the age of the students, that nothing 
which is beyond their comprehension be given them to 
learn. 

Second Principle 

X I . Nature prepares the materia l^ before she begins to give 
it form. 

For example : the bird that wishes to produce a crea- 
ture similar to itself first conceives the embryo from a drop 
of its blood ; it then prepares the nest in which it is to lay 
the eggs, but does not begin to hatch them until the chick 
is formed and moves within the shell. 

12. Imitation. — In the same way the prudent builder, 
before he begins to erect a building, collects a quantity of 
wood, lime, stones, iron, and the other things needful, in 
order that he may not have to stop the work later on from 
lack of materials, nor find that its solidity has been im- 
paired. In the same way, the painter who wishes to 
produce a picture, prepares the canvas, stretches it on a 
frame, lays the ground on it, mixes his colours, places his 
brushes so that they may be ready to hand, and then at 
last commences to paint. 



UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION 115 

In the same way the gardener, before he commences 
operations, tries to have the garden, the stocks, the grafts, 
and the tools in readiness, that he may not have to fetch 
the necessary appliances while at work, and so spoil the 
whole operation. 
f 13. Deviation. — Against this principle schools are 

/offenders : firstly, because they take no care to prepare 
beforehand the mechanical aids such as books, maps, 
pictures, diagrams, etc., and to have them in readiness for 
general use, but at the moment that they need this or that, 
they make experiments, draw, dictate, copy, etc., and when 
this is done by an unskilled or careless teacher (and their 
number increases daily), the result is deplorable. It is just 
as if a physician, whenever he wishes to administer a 
medicine, had to wander through gardens and forests, and 
collect and distil herbs and roots, though medicaments to 

^suit every case should be ready to his hand. 

14. Secondly, because even in school-books the natural 
order, that the matter come first and the form follow, 
not observed. Everywhere the exact opposite is to be 
found. The classification of objects is unnaturally made 
to precede a knowledge of the objects themselves, although 
it is impossible to classify, before the matter to be classified 
is there. I will demonstrate this by four examples. 

15. (i) Languages are learned in schools before the 
sciences, since the intellect is detained for some years overj 
the study of languages, and only then allowed to proceed 
to the sciences, mathematics, physics, etc. And yet things 
are essential, words only accidental ; things are the body, 
words but the garment ; things are the kernel, words the 
shells and husks. Both should therefore be presented to 
the intellect at the same time, but particularly the things, 
since they are as much objects of the understanding as are^' 
languages. 

16. (2) Even in the study of languages the proper 
order is reversed, since the students commence, not with 
some author or with a skilfully-compiled phrase-book, but 
with the grammar ; though the authors (and in their own way 



ural \ 
■, is ) 



Ii6 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

the phrase-books) present the material of speech, namely 
words, while the grammars, on the other hand, only give 
the form, that is to say, the laws of the formation, order, 
and combination of words. 

17. (3) In the encyclopaedic compilations 01 human 
knowledge, the arts are always placed first, while the 
sciences follow after ; though the latter teach of the 
things themselves, the former how to manipulate the 
thirigs. 

1 8. (4) Finally : it is the abstract rules that are first 
taught and then illustrated by dragging in a few examples ; 
though it is plain that a light should precede him whom it 
lights. 

19. Rectification. — It follows, therefore, that in order to 
effect a thorough improvement in schools it is necessary : 

(i.) That books and the materials necessary for teach- 
ing be held in readiness. 

(ii.) That the understanding be first instructed in things, 
and then taught to express them in language. 

(iii.) That no language be learned from a grammar, but 
from suitable authors. 

(iv.) That the knowledge of things precede the know- 
ledge of their combinations. 

(v). And that examples come before rules. 

Third Principle 

I 20. Nature chooses a fit subject to act upon, or first submits 
[one to a suitable treatment in order to make it fit. 

For example : a bird does not place any object in the 
nest in which it sits, but an object of such a kind that a 
chicken can be hatched from it, that is to say, an egg. If 
a small stone or anything else falls into the nest, it throws 
it out as useless. But when the process of hatching takes 
place, it warms the matter contained in the egg, and looks 
after it until the chicken makes its way out. 

2 1 . Imitation. — In the same way the builder cuts down 
timber, of as good quality as possible, dries it, squares it, 



UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION 117 

and saws it into planks. Then he chooses a spot to build 
on, clears it, lays a new foundation, or repairs the old one 
so that he can make use of it. 

22. In the same way, if the canvas or the surface do 
not suit his colours, the painter tries to make them more 
suitable, and, by rubbing them and polishing them, iits 
them for his use. 

23. The gardener too (i) chooses from a fruit-bearing 
stock a shoot that possesses as much vitality as possible ; 
(2) transplants it to a garden, and places it carefully in the 
earth ; (3) does not burden it with a new graft unless he 
sees that it has taken root ; (4) before he inserts the new 
graft, removes the former shoot, and even cuts a piece away 
round the stock in order that none of the sap may perform 
any function other than that of vivifying the graft. 

24. Deviation. — Against this principle the schools are 
offenders : not because they include the weak of intellect 
(for in our opinion all the young should be admitted into 
the schools) but far more because : 

(i) These tender plants are not transplanted into the 
garden, that is to say, are not entirely entrusted to the 
schools, so that none, who are to be trained as men, shall 
be allowed to leave the workshop before their training is 
complete. 

(2) The attempt is generally made to engraft that 
noblest graft of knowledge, virtue and piety, too early, 
before the stock itself has taken root ; that is to say, before 
the desire to learn has been excited in those who have no 
natural bent in that direction. 

(3) The side-shoots or root-suckers are not removed 
before the grafting takes place ; that is to say, the minds 
are not freed from all idle tendencies by being habituated 
to discipline and order. 

25. Rectification. — It is therefore desirable: 

(i.) That all who enter schools persevere in their studies. 

(ii.) That, before any special study is introduced, the 
minds of the students be prepared and made receptive of 
it. (See the following chapter. Principle 2.) 



ii8 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

(iii.) That all obstacles be removed out of the way of 
schools. 

" For it is of no use to give precepts," says Seneca, 
" unless the obstacles that stand in the way be removed." 
But of this we will treat in the following chapter. 

Fourth Principle 

26. Nature is not confused in its operations, but in its 
forward progress advances distinctly from one point to 

another. 

For example: if a bird is being produced, its bones, 
veins, and nerves are formed at separate and distinct 
periods ; at one time its flesh becomes firm, at another it 
receives its covering of skin or feathers, and at another it 
learns how to fly, etc. 

27. Imitation. — When a builder lays foundations he 
does not build the walls at the same time, much less does 
he put on the roof, but does each of these things at the 
proper time and in the proper place. 

2 8. In the same way a painter does not work at twenty 
or thirty pictures at once, but occupies himself with one 
only. For, though he may from time to time put a few 
touches to some others or give his attention to something 
else, it is on one picture and one only that he con- 
centrates his energies. 

29. In the same way the gardener does not plant 
several shoots at once, but plants them one after the other, 
that he may neither confuse himself nor spoil the operation 
of nature. 

30. Deviation. — Confusion has arisen in the schools 
'through the endeavour to teach the scholars many things 

at one time. As, for example, Latin and Greek grammar, 
perhaps rhetoric and poetic as well, and a multitude of 
other subjects. For it is notorious that in the classical 
schools the subject-matter for reading and for composition 
is changed almost every hour throughout the day. If this 
be not confusion I should like to know what is. It is 



UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION 119 

just as if a shoemaker wished to make six or seven new- 
shoes at once, and took them up one by one in turn, only 
to lay them aside in a few minutes ; or as if a baker, who 
wished to place various kinds of bread in his oven, were 
to take them out again immediately, removing one kind as 
he put in another. Who would commit such an act of 
folly? The shoemaker finishes one shoe before he begins 
another. The baker places no fresh bread in the oven 
until that already in it is thoroughly baked. 

31. Rectification. — Let us imitate these people and take 
care not to confuse scholars who are learning grammar by 
teaching them dialectic, or by introducing rhetoric into 
their studies. We should also put off the study of Greek 
until Latin is mastered, since it is impossible to con- 
centrate the mind on any one thing, when it has to busy 
itself with several things at once. 

That great man, Joseph Scaliger,^^ was well aware of 
this. It is related of him that (perhaps on the advice 
of his father) he never occupied himself with more than 
one branch of knowledge at once, and concentrated all 
his energies on that one. It was owing to this that he 
was able to master not only fourteen languages, but also 
all the arts and sciences that lie within the province of 
man. He devoted himself to these one after the other 
with such success that in each subject his learning excelled 
that of men who had given their whole lives to it. And 
those who have tried to follow in his footsteps and imitate 
his method, have done so with considerable success. 

32. Schools, therefore, should be organised in such a 
manner that the scholar shall be occupied with only one 
object of study at any given time. 

Fifth Principle 

33. In all the operations of nature development is from 
within. 

For example : in the case of a bird it is not the claws, 
or the feathers, or the skin that are first formed, but the 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



inner parts ; the outer parts are formed later, at the proper 
season. 

34. Imitation. — In the same way the gardener does not 
insert his graft into the outer bark nor into the outside 
layer of wood, but making an incision right into the pith, 
places the graft as far in as it will go. 

In this way he makes the joint so firm that the sap 
cannot escape, but is forced right into the shoot, and uses 
all its strength in vivifying it. 

35. So too, a tree, that is nourished by the rain of 
heaven and the moisture of the earth, assimilates its nutri- 
ment, not through its outer bark, but through the pores of 
its inmost parts. On this account the gardener waters, 
not the branches, but the roots. Animals also convey 
their food, not to their outer limbs, but to the stomach, 
which assimilates it and nourishes the whole body. If, 
therefore, the educator of the young give special attention 
to the roots of knowledge, the understanding, these will 
soon impart their vitality to the stem, that is, to the 
memory, and finally blossoms and fruits, that is to say, 
a facile use of language and practical capacity will be 
produced. 

/ 36. Deviation. — It is on this point that those teachers 
I fall into error who, instead of thoroughly explaining the 
subjects of study to the boys under their charge, give them 
endless dictations, and make them learn their lessons off 
by heart. Even those who wish to explain the subject- 
matter do not know how to do so, that is to say, do not 
know how to tend the roots or how to engraft the graft of 
knowledge. Thus they fatigue their pupils, and resemble 
a man who uses a club or a mallet, instead of a knife, when 
he wishes to make an incision in a plant. 
37. Rectification. — It therefore follows 
(i.) That the scholar should be taught first to under- 
stand things, and then to remember them, and that no 
stress should be lai(f8irthe use of speech or pen, till after 
a training on the first two points. 

(ii.) That the teacher should know all the methods by 



UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION 121 

which the understanding may be sharpened, and should 
put them into practice skilfully. 

Sixth Principle 

38. Nature, in its formative processes, begins with the ' 
universal and ends with the particular. 

For example : a bird is to be produced from an egg. 
It is not the head, an eye, a feather, or a claw that is first 
formed, but the following process takes place. The whole 
egg is warmed ; the warmth produces movement, and this 
movement brings into existence a system of veins, which 
mark in outline the shape of the whole bird (defining the 
parts that are to become the head, the wings, the feet, 
etc.). It is not until this outline is complete that the indi- 
vidual parts are brought to perfection. 

39. Imitation. — The builder takes this as his model. 
He first makes a general plan of the building in his head, 
or on paper, or in wood. Then he lays the foundations, 
builds the walls, and lays on the roof. It is not until he 
has done this that he gives his attention to the small 
details that are necessary to complete a house, such as 
doors, windows, staircases, etc. ; while last of all he adds 
ornamentation such as paintings, sculptures, and carpets. 

40. An artist proceeds in the same way. He does not 
begin by drawing an ear, an eye, a nose, or a mouth, but 
first makes a charcoal sketch of the face or of the whole 
body. If he be satisfied that this sketch resembles the 
original, he paints it with light strokes of the brush, still 
omitting all detail. Then, finally, he puts in the light 
and shade, and, using a variety of colours, finishes the 
several parts in detail. 

41. The procedure of the sculptor is the same. When 
he wishes to carve a statue, he takes a block of marble 
and shapes it roughly. Then he sets to work more care- 
fully and outlines the most important features. Finally, he 
chisels the individual parts with the greatest accuracy and 
colours them artistically. 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



42. In the same way the gardener takes the most 
simple and universal part of a tree, namely, a shoot. 
Later on, this can put forth as many branches as it 
possesses buds. 

43. Deviation. — From this it follows that it is a mistake 
I to teach the several branches of science in detail before a 
! general outline of the whole realm of knowledge has been 

placed before the student, and that no one should be in- 
structed in such a way as to become proficient in any one 

1 branch of knowledge without thoroughly understanding its 

1 relation to all the rest. 

44. It follows also that arts, sciences, and languages 
are badly taught unless a general notion of the elements 
be first given. I remember well that, when we began to 
learn dialectic, rhetoric, and metaphysics, we were, at the 
very beginning, overburdened with long-winded rules, with 
commentaries and notes on commentaries, with compari- 
sons of authors and with knotty questions. Latin grammar 
was taught us with all the exceptions and irregularities ; 
Greek grammar with all its dialects, and we, poor wretches, 
were so confused that we scarcely understood what it was 
all about. 

45. Rectification. — The remedy for this want of system is 
as follows : at the very commencement of their studies, boys 
should receive instruction in the first principles of general 
culture, that is to say, the subjects learned should be arranged 
in such a manner that the studies that come later introduce 
nothing new, but only expand the elements of knowledge 
that the boy has already mastered. Just as a tree, even if 
it live for a hundred years, puts forth no new branches, but 
only suffers those that already exist to develope and to 
spread. 

(i.) Each language, science, t>r art must be first taught 
in its most simple elements, that the student may obtain a 
general idea of it. (ii.) His knowledge may next be developed 
further by placing rules and examples before him. (iii.) Then 
he may be allowed to learn the subject systematically with 
the exceptions and irregularities ; and (iv.), last of all, may 



UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION 123 

be given a commentary, though only where it is absolutely 
necessary. For he who has thoroughly mastered a subject 
from the beginning will have little need of a commentary, 
but will soon be in the position to write one himself. 

Seventh Principle 

46. Nature makes no leaps, but proceeds step by step. 
The development of a chicken consists of certain 

gradual processes which cannot be omitted or deferred, 
until finally it breaks its shell and comes forth. When 
this takes place, the mother does not allow the young bird 
to fly and seek its food (indeed it is unable to do so), but 
she feeds it herself, and by keeping it warm with her body 
promotes the growth of its feathers. When the chick's 
feathers have grown she does not thrust it forth from the 
nest immediately and make it fly, but teaches it first to 
move its wings in the nest itself or perching on its edge, 
then to try to fly outside the nest, though quite near it, by 
fluttering from branch to branch, then to fly from tree to 
tree, and later on from hill to hill, till finally it gains 
sufficient confidence to fly right out in the open. It is 
easy to see how necessary it is that each of these processes 
should take place at the right time ; that not only the time 
should be suitable but that the processes should be gradu- 
ated ; and that there should be not graduation merely, but 
an immutable graduation. 

47. Imitation. — The builder proceeds in the same 
manner. He does not begin with the gables or with the 
walls, but with foundations. When the foundations are 
laid he does not go on with the roof, but builds the walls. 
In a word, the order in which the several stages are com- 
bined depends on the relation that they mutually bear to 
one another. 

48. The gardener likewise has to adopt the principle of 
graduation. The wild-stock must be found, dug up, trans- 
planted, pruned, and cut ; the graft must be inserted and 
the joint made firm, etc., and none of these processes can 



124 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

be omitted or taken in a different order. But, if these 
processes are carried out properly and in the right order, 
it is scarcely possible, in fact it is impossible, for the result 
to be unsuccessful. 

49. Deviation. — It is an evident absurdity, therefore, if 
teachers, for their own sake and that of their pupils, do 
not graduate the subjects which they teach in such a way 
that, not only one stage may lead on directly to the next, 
but also that each shall be completed in a given space of 
time. For unless goals are set up, means provided for 
reaching them, and a proper system devised for the use of 
those means, it is easy for something to be omitted or 
perverted, and failure is the result. 

50. Rectification. — It follows therefore 

(i.) That all studies should be carefully graduated 
throughout the various classes, in such a way that those 
that come first may prepare the way for and throw light on 
those that come after. 

(ii.) That the time should be carefully divided, so that 
each year, each month, each day, and each hour may have 
its appointed task. 

(iii.) That the division of the time and of the subjects of 
study should be rigidly adhered to, that nothing may be 
omitted or perverted. 

Eighth Principle 

51. If nature commence anything., it does not leave off until 
the operation is completed. 

If a bird, urged by the impulse of nature, begin to sit 
on eggs, she does not leave off until she has hatched out 
the chickens. If she sat on them for a few hours only, the 
embryo in the egg would become cold and die. Even when 
the chickens are hatched she does not cease to keep them 
warm, but continues to do so until they have grown strong, 
are covered with feathers, and can endure the cold air. 

52. Imitation. — The painter also, who has begun a 
picture, will produce his work best if he finish it without 



UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION 125 

any interruption. For in this case the colours blend better 
and hold faster. 

53. For this reason it is best to finish the erection of a 
building without any interruption; otherwise the sun, the 
wind, and the rain spoil the work, the later additions will 
not be so firm, and on every side there will be cracks, 
weak spots, and loose joints. 

54. The gardener too acts with wisdom, for when once 
he has begun to work at a graft he does not cease until the 
operation is completed. Since, if the sap dry in the stock 
or in the graft, owing to a delay in completing the process, 
the plant is ruined. 

55. Deviation. — It is therefore injurious if boys are sent 
to school for months or years continuously, but are then 
withdrawn for considerable periods and employed otherwise; 
equally so if the teacher commence now one subject, now 
another, and finish nothing satisfactorily ; and lastly, it is 
equally fatal if he do not fix a certain task for each hour, 
and complete it, so that in each period his pupil can make 
an unmistakable advance towards the desired goal. Where 
such a fire is wanting, everything grows cold. Not without 
reason does the proverb say " Strike while the iron is hot." 
For if it be allowed to cool it is useless to hammer it, but 
it must once more be placed in the fire, and thus much 
time and iron are wasted. Since every time that it is heated, 
it loses some of its mass. 

56. Rectification. — It follows therefore 

(i.) That he who is sent to school must be kept there 
until he becomes well informed, virtuous, and pious. 

(ii.) That the school must be situated in a quiet spot, 
far from noise and distractions. 

(iii.) That whatever has to be done, in accordance 
with the scheme of study, must be done without any 
shirking. 

(iv.) That no boys, under any pretext whatever, should 
be allowed to stay away or to play truant. 



126 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



Ninth Principle 

57. Nature carefully avoids obstacles and things likely to 
cause hurt. 

For example, when a bird is hatching eggs it does not 
allow a cold wind, much less rain or hail, to reach them. 
It also drives away snakes, birds of prey, etc. 

58. Imitation. — In the same way the builder, so far as 
is possible, keeps dry his wood, bricks, and lime, and does 
not allow what he has built to be destroyed or to fall down. 

59. So, too, the painter protects a newly-painted picture 
from wind, from violent heat, and from dust, and allows 
no hand but his own to touch it. 

60. The gardener also protects a young plant by a 
raihng or by hurdles, that hares or goats may not gnaw it 
or root it up. 

61. Deviation. — It is therefore folly to introduce a 
student to controversial points when he is just beginning 
a subject, that is to say, to allow a mind that is mastering 
something new to assume an attitude of doubt. What is 
this but to tear up a plant that is just beginning to strike 
root ? (Rightly does Hugo say : " He who starts by 
investigating doubtful points will never enter into the 
temple of wisdom.") But this is exactly what takes place 
if the young are not protected from incorrect, intricate, and 
badly written books as well as from evil companions. 

62. Rectification. — Care should therefore be taken 

(i.) That the scholars receive no books but those suit- 
able for their classes. 

(ii.) That these books be of such a kind that they can 
rightly be termed sources of wisdom, virtue, and piety. 

(iii.) That neither in the school nor in its vicinity the 
scholars be allowed to mix with bad companions. 

63. If all these recommendations are observed, it is 
scarcely possible that schools should fail to attain their 
object. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE PRINCIPLES OF FACILITY IN TEACHING AND IN LEARNING 

I. We have already considered the means by which the 
educationist may attain his goal with certainty, we will 
now proceed to see how these means can be suited to the 
minds of the pupils, so that their use may be easy and 
pleasant. 

2. Following in the footsteps of nature we find that the 
process of education will be easy 

(i.) If it begin early, before the mind is corrupted. 

(ii.) If the mind be duly prepared to receive it. 

(iii.) If it proceed from the general to the particular. 

(iv.) And from what is easy to what is more difficult. 

(v.) If the pupil be not overburdened by too many 
subjects. 

(vi.) And if progress be slow in every case. 

(vii.) If the intellect be forced to nothing to which its 
natural bent does not incline it, in accordance with its age 
and with the right method. 

(yiiuyif everything be taught through the medium of 

the senses. 

(ix.) And if the use of everything taught be continually 
kept in view. 

(x.) if everything be taught according to one and the 
same method. 

These, I say, are the principles to be adopted if 
education is to be easy and pleasant. 

127 



128 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



First Principle 

3. Nature begins by a careful selection of materials. 

For instance, for hatching a bird she selects fresh eggs 
and those that contain pure matter. If the formation of 
the chicken have already begun, it is in vain to expect any 
result. 

4. Imitation. — The architect who wishes to erect a 
building, needs a clear plot of ground, and, if there be a 
house already standing there, he must pull it down before 
he can build the new one. 

5. The artist, too, does his best work on a clean canvas. 
If it have already been painted on, or be dirty or rough, it 
must be cleaned or smoothed before he can use it. 

6. For the preservation of precious ointments, empty 
jars must be procured, or those that are in use must be 
carefully cleansed of their contents. 

7. The gardener, too, prefers to plant young trees, or, 
if he take them when too old, cuts off the branches in 
order that the sap may not be dissipated. For this reason 
Aristotle placed " privation " among the principles of 
nature, for he held that it was impossible to impress a new 
form on any material until the old one had been removed. 

8. Deviation. — It follows from this : (i) That it is best 
to devote the mind to the pursuit of wisdom while it is 
still fresh, and before it has acquired the habit of dissipat- 
ing its strength over a variety of occupations ; and that the 
later the education begins, the harder it will be for it to 
obtain a hold, because the mind is already occupied by 
other things. (2) That the result must be bad if a boy 
be instructed by several teachers at once, since it is 
scarcely possible for them all to use the same method, and, 
if they do not, the boy's mind is drawn first in one direc- 
tion and then in another, and its development is thus 
hindered. (3) That it shows great lack of judgment if 
moral instruction be not made the first point when the 



THE PRINCIPLES OF FACILITY 129 

education of children or of older boys is commenced; since, 
when they have been taught to control their feelings, they 
will be the more fit to receive other instruction. Horse- 
tamers keep a horse under absolute control with an iron 
bit, and ensure its obedience before they teach it its paces. / 
Rightly does Seneca say: "First learn virtue, and then 
wisdom, since without virtue it is difficult to learn wisdom."! 
And Cicero says : " Moral philosophy makes the mind fit 
to receive the seeds of further knowledge.'' 

9. Rectification. — Therefore 

(i.) Education should be commenced early. 

(ii.) The pupil should not have more than one teacher 
in each subject. 

(iii.) Before anything else is done, the morals should be 
rendered harmonious by the master's influence. 

Second Principle 

10. Nature prepares its material so that it actually strives 
to attain the form. 

Thus the chicken in the egg, when sufficiently formed^ 
seeks to develope itself still further, moves, and bursts the 
shell or breaks through it with its beak. After escap- 
ing from its prison, it takes pleasure in the warmth and 
nutriment provided by its mother, opens its beak expect- 
antly and swallows its food greedily. It rejoices to find 
itself under the open sky, exercises its wings, and, later on, 
uses them with enjoyment ; in a word, it displays a keen 
desire to fulfil all its natural functions, though throughout 
the whole process of development it advances step by 
step. 

11. Imitation. — The gardener also must bring it about 
that the plant, properly provided with moisture and with 
warmth, take pleasure in its vigorous growth. 

1 2. Deviation. — Therefore, those who drive boys to thein 
studies, do them great harm. For what result can theyl 
expect? If a man have no appetite, but yet takes food 
when urged to do so, the result can only be sickness and/ 

9 



130 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

vomiting, or at least indigestion and indisposition. On 
the other hand, if a man be hungry, he is eager to take 
food, digests it readily, and easily converts it into flesh and 
blood. Thus Isocrates says : " He who is anxious to learn 
will also be learned." And Quintilian says : " The acquisi- 
tion of knowledge depends on the will to learn, and this 
cannot be forced:" 

f 13. Rectification. — Therefore 

(i.) The desire to know and to learn should be excited 
in boys in every possible manner. 

(ii.) The method of instruction should lighten the drud- 
gery of learning, that there may be nothing to hinder the 
scholars or deter them from making progress with their 

I studies. 

\ 14. The desire to learn is kindled in boys by parents, 
\by masters, by the school, by the subjects of instruction, 
!by the method of teaching, and by the authority of the state. 

15. By parents, if they praise learning and the learned 
in the presence of their children, or if they encourage 
them to be industrious by promising them nice books and 
clothes, or some other pretty thing ; if they commend the 
teachers (especially him to whom they entrust their sons) 
as much for their friendly feeling towards the pupils as for 
their skill in teaching- (for love and admiration are the 
feelings most calculated to stimulate a desire for imita- 
tion) ; finally, if, from time to time, they send the child to 
him with a small present. In this way they will easily 
bring it about that the children like their lessons and their 
teachers, and have confidence in them. 

1 6. By the teachers, if they are gentle and persuasive, 
and do not alienate their pupils from them by roughness, 
but attract them by fatherly sentiments and words ; if they 
commend the studies that they take in hand on account of 
their excellence, pleasantness, and ease ; if they praise the 
industrious ones from time to time (to the little ones they 
may give apples, nuts, sugar, etc.) ; if they call the children 
to them, privately or in the class, and show them pictures 
of the things that they must learn, or explain to them 



THE PRINCIPLES OF FACILITY 131 

optical or geometrical instruments, astronomical globes, and 
such-like things that are calculated to excite their admira- 
tion ; or again, if they occasionally give the children some 
message to carry to their parents. In a word, if they treat 
their pupils kindly they will easily win their affections, and 
will bring it about that they prefer going to school to 
remaining at home. 

17. The school itself should be a pleasant place, and 
attractive to the eye both within and without. Within, 
the room should be bright and clean, and its walls should 
be ornamented by pictures. These should be either/ 
portraits of celebrated men, geographical maps, historical/ 
plans, or other ornaments. Without, there should be am 
open place to walk and to play in (for this is absolutely 
necessary for children, as we shall show later), and therei 
should also be a garden attached, into which the scholars^ 
may be allowed to go from time to time and where they] 
may feast their eyes on trees, flowers, and plants. If this 
be done, boys will, in all probability, go to school with asr 
much pleasure as to fairs, where they always hope to see 
and hear something new. 

18. The subjects of instruction themselves prove attrac-^ 
tive to the young, if they are suited to the age of the 
pupil and are clearly explained ; especially if the explanation 
be relieved by a humorous or at any rate by a less serious 
tone. For thus the pleasant is combined with the useful. 

^ 1 9. If the method is to excite a taste for knowledge, it 
must, in the first place, be natural. For what is natural 
takes place without compulsion. Water need not be forced^ 
to run down a mountain-side. If the dam, or whatever 
else holds it back, be removed, it flows down at once. It 
is not necessary to persuade a bird to fly ; it does so as 
soon as the cage is opened. The eye and the ear need 
no urging to enjoy a fine painting or a beautiful melody 
that is presented to them. In all these cases it is more 
often necessary to restrain than to urge on. The requisites 
of a natural method are evident from the preceding chapter 
and from the rules that follow. 



132 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

In the second place, if the scholars are to be interested, 
care must be taken to make the method palatable, so that 
everything, no matter how serious, may be placed before 
them in a familiar and attractive manner ; in the form of 
a dialogue, for instance, by pitting the boys against one 
another to answer and explain riddling questions, compari- 
sons, and fables. But of this more in the proper place. 

20. The civil authorities and the managers of schools 
can kindle the zeal of the scholars by being present at 
public performances (such as declarations, disputations, 
examinations, and promotions), and by praising the indus- 
trious ones and giving them small presents (without respect 
of person). 

Third Principle 

21. Nature developes everything from beginnings which, 
though insignificant in appearance, possess great potential 
strength. 

For instance, the matter out of which a bird is to be 
formed consists of a few drops, which are contained in a 
shell, that they may be easily warmed and hatched. But 
these few drops contain the whole bird potentially, since, 
later on, the body of the chicken is formed from the vital 
principle which is concentrated in them. 

22. Imitation. — In the same way a tree, no matter how 
large it may be, is potentially contained in the kernel of its 
fruit or in the shoot at the end of one of its branches. If 
one or the other of these be placed in the earth, a whole 
tree will be produced by the inner force that it contains. 

23. Terrible deviation. — In direct opposition to this 
principle a terrible mistake is generally made in schools. 
Most teachers are at pains to place in the earth plants 
instead of seeds, and trees instead of shoots, since, instead 
of starting with the fundamental principles, they place 
before their pupils a chaos o f diverse c onclusions or the 
complete texts of authors. And yet it is~'certain that 
instruction rests on a very small number of principles, just 
as the earth is composed of four elements (though in 



THE PRINCIPLES OF FACILITY 133 

diverse forms) ; and that from these principles (in accord- 
ance with the evident limits of their powers of differentia- 
tion) an unlimited number of results can be deduced, just 
as, in the case of a tree, hundreds of branches, and thou- 
sands of leaves, blossoms, and fruits are produced from the 
original shoot. Oh ! may God take pity on our age, and 
open some man's eyes, that he may see aright the true 
relations in which things stand to one another, and may 
impart his knowledge to the rest of mankind. With God's 
assistance I hope, in my Synopsis of Christian Wisdom,io give 
an earnest of my efforts to do so, in the modest hope that it 
may be of use to others whom God, in due season, may 
call to carry on the work. 

24. Rectification. — In the meantime we may draw three 
conclusions : 

(i.) Every art must be contained in the shortest and 
most practical rules. 

(ii.) Each rule must be expressed in the shortest and 
clearest words. 

(iii.) Each rule must be accompanied by many examples, 
in order that the use of the rule may be quite clear when 
fresh cases arise. 

Fourth Principle 

25. Nature advances from what is easy to what is more 
difficult. 

For example, the formation of an egg does not begin 
with the hardest part, the shell, but with the contents. 
These are at first covered by a membrane ; it is not till 
later that the hard shell appears. The bird that learns to 
fly accustoms itself first to stand on its legs, then to move 
its wings gently, then to do so with more force until it can 
raise itself from the ground, and last of all gains sufficient 
confidence to fly through the air. 

26. Imitation. — In the same way a carpenter's appren- 
tice learns, first to fell trees, then to saw them into planks 
and fasten them together, and finally to build complete 
houses of them. 



134 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

27. Various Deviations. — It is therefore wrong to teach 
the unknown through the medium of that which is equally 
unknown, as is the case : 

(i.) If boys who are beginning Latin are taught the 
rules in Latin. This is just as if the attempt were made 
to explain Hebrew by Hebrew rules, or Arabic by Arabic 
rules. 

(ii.) If these same beginners are given as assistance a 
Latin-German instead of a German-Latin dictionary. For 
they do not want to learn their mother-tongue by the aid 
of Latin, but to learn Latin through the medium of the 
language that they already know. (On this error we will 
say more in chap. xxii.). 

(iii.) If boys are given a foreign teacher who does not 
understand their language. For if they have no common 
medium through which they can hold communication with 
him, and can only guess at what he is saying, can anything 
but a Tower of Babel be the result ? 

(iv.) A deviation is made from the right method of 
teaching, if boys of all nations {i.e. French, German, 
Bohemian, Pohsh, or Hungarian boys) are taught in accord- 
ance with the same rules of grammar (those of Melanchthon 
or of Ramus, ^^ for example), since each of these languages 
stands in its own particular relation to Latin, and this 
relation must be well understood if Latin is to be 
thoroughly taught to boys of these several nationalities. 

28. Rectification. — These errors may be avoided 

(i.) If the teachers and their pupils talk the same 
language. 

(ii.) If all explanations are given in the language that 
the pupils understand. 

(iii.) If grammars and dictionaries are adapted to the 
language through the medium of which the new one is to 
be learned (that is to say, the Latin Grammar to the 
mother-tongue, and Greek Grammar to the Latin language). 

(iv.) If the study of a new language be allowed to 
proceed gradually and in such a way that the scholar learn 
first to understand (for this is the easiest), then to write 



THE PRINCIPLES OF FACILITY 13S 

(for here there is time for consideration), and lastly to 
speak (which is the hardest, because the process is so 
rapid).. 

(v.) If, when Latin is combined with German, the 
German be placed first as the best known, and the Latin 
follow. 

(vi.) If the subject-matter be so arranged that the 
pupils get to know, first, that which lies nearest to their 
mental vision, then that which lies moderately near, then 
that which is more remote, and lastly, that which is 
farthest off. Therefore, if boys are being taught some- 
thing for the first time (such as logic or rhetoric), the 
illustrations should not be taken from subjects that cannot 
be grasped by the scholars, such as theology, politics, or 
poetry, but should be derived from the events of every- 
day life. Otherwise the boys will understand neither the 
rules nor their application. 

(vii.) If boys be made to exercise, first their senses 
(for this is the easiest), then the memory, then the com- 
prehension, and finally the judgment. In this way a 
graded sequence will take place ; for all knowledge begins 
by sensuous perception ; then through the medium of the 
imagination it enters the province of the memory; then, 
by dwelling on the particulars, comprehension of the 
universal arises ; while finally comes judgment on the facts 
that have been grasped, and in this way our knowledge is 
firmly established. 

Fifth Principle 

29. Nature does not overburden herself, but is content with 
a little. 

For instance, she does not demand two chickens from 
one egg, but is satisfied if one be produced. The gardener 
does not insert a number of grafts on one stock, but two 
at most, if he consider it very strong. 

30. Deviation. — The mental energies of the scholar 
are therefore dissipated if he have to learn many things 



136 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

at once, such as grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, poetic, Greek, 
etc., in one year (cf. the previous chapter. Principle 4). 

Sixth Principle 

31. Nature does not hurry, but advances slowly. 

For example, a bird does not place its eggs in the fire, 
in order to hatch them quickly, but lets them develope 
slowly under the influence of natural warmth. Neither, 
later on, does it cram its chickens with food that they may 
mature quickly (for this would only choke them), but it 
selects their food with care and gives it to them gradually 
in the quantities that their weak digestion can support. 

32. Imitation. — The builder, too, does not erect the 
walls on the foundations with undue haste and then 
straightway put on the roof; since, unless the foundations 
were given time to dry and become firm, they would sink 
under the superincumbent weight, and the whole building 
would tumble down. Large stone buildings, therefore, 
cannot be finished within one year, but must have a 
suitable length of time allotted for their construction. 

33. Nor does the gardener expect a plant to grow 
large in the first month, or to bear fruit at the end of the 
first year. He does not, therefore, tend and water it 
every day, nor does he warm it with fire or with quicklime, 
but is content with the moisture that comes from heaven 
and with the warmth that the sun provides. 

34. Deviation. — For the young, therefore, it is torture 
(i.) If they are compelled to receive six, seven, or eight 

hours' class instruction daily, and private lessons in addition. 

(ii.) If they are overburdened with dictations, with 
exercises, and with the lessons that they have to commit 
to memory, until nausea and, in some cases, insanity is 
produced. 

If we take a jar with a narrow mouth (for to this we 
may compare a boy's intellect) and attempt to pour a 
quantity of water into it violently, instead of allowing it to 
trickle in drop by drop, what will be the result ? Without 



THE PRINCIPLES OF FACILITY 137 

doubt the greater part of the liquid will flow over the side, 
and ultimately the jar will contain less than if the operation 
had taken place gradually. Quite as foolish is the action 
of those who try to teach their pupils, not as much as they 
can assimilate, but as much as they themselves wish ; for 
the faculties need to be supported and not to be over- 
burdened, and the teacher, like the physician, is the 
servant and not the master of nature. 

35. Rectification. — The ease and the pleasantness of 
study will therefore be increased : 

(i.) If the class instruction be curtailed as much as 
possible, namely to four 'hours, and if the same length of 
time be left for private study. 

(ii.) If the pupils be forced to memorise as little as 
possible, that is to say, only the most important things ; of 
the rest they need only grasp the general meaning. 

(iii.) If everything be arranged to suit the capacity of 
the pupil, which increases naturally with study and age. 

Seventh Principle 

36. Nature compels nothing to advance that is not driven 
fonvard by its ojvn mature strength. 

For instance, a chicken is not compelled to quit the 
egg before its limbs are properly formed and set ; is not 
forced to fly before its feathers have grown ; is not thrust 
from the nest before it is able to fly well, etc. 

A tree, too, does not put forth shoots before it is 
forced to do so by the sap that rises from the roots, nor 
does it permit fruit to appear before the leaves and 
blossoms formed by the sap seek further development, 
nor does it permit the blossoms to fall before the fruit 
that they contain is protected by a skin, nor the fruit to 
drop before it is ripe. 

37. Deviation. — Now the faculties of the young are 
forced : 

(i.) If boys are compelled to learn things for which 
their age and capacity are not yet suited. 



138 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

(ii.) If they are made to learn by heart or to do things that 
have not first been thoroughly explained and demonstrated 
to them. 

38. Rectification. — From what has been said, it follows | 
(i.) That nothing should be taught to the young, unless 1 

it is not only permitted but actually demanded by their ' 

age and mental strength. ^ ^-— 

1 (ii.) That nothing should be learned by heart that has 
not been thoroughly grasped by the understanding. Nor 
should any feat of memory be demanded unless it is 
absolutely certain that the boy's strength is equal to it. 

(iii.) That nothing should be set boys to do until its 
nature has been thoroughly explained to them, and rules 
for procedure have been given. 

Eighth Principle 

39. Nature assists its operations in every possible manner. 
For example, an egg possesses its own natural warmth ; 

but this is assisted by the warmth of the sun and by the 
feathers of the bird that hatches it. God, the father of 
nature, takes forethought for this. The newly -hatched 
chicken, also, is warmed by the mother as long as is 
necessary, and is trained by her in the various functions 
of life. This we can see in the case of storks, who assist 
their young by taking them on their backs and bearing 
them round the nest while they exercise their wings. In 
the same way nurses help little children. They teach 
them first to raise their heads and then to sit up ; later 
on, to stand on their legs, and to move their legs 
preparatory to walking ; then by degrees to walk and step 
out firmly. When they teach them to speak they repeat 
words to them and point to the objects that the words denote. 

40. Deviation. — It is therefore cruelty on the part of a 
teacher if he set his pupils work to do without first 
explaining it to them thoroughly, or showing them how it 
should be done, and if he do not assist them in their 
first attempts ; or if he allow them to toil hard, and 



THE PRINCIPLES OF FACILITY 139 

then loses his temper if they do not succeed in their 
endeavours. 

What is this but to torture the young ? it is just as if 
a nurse were to force a child to walk, while it is still afraid 
to stand on its legs, and beat it when it failed to do so. 
Nature's teaching is very different, and shows that we 
ought to have patience with the weak as long as their 
strength is insufficient. 

41. Rectification. — From this it follows : 

(i.) That no blows should be given for lack of readiness 
to learn (for, if the pupil do not learn readily, this is 
the fault of no one but the teacher, who either does not 
know how to make his pupil receptive of knowledge or 
does not take the trouble to do so). 

(ii.) That the subjects that have to be learned by the 
pupils should be so thoroughly explained to them, that 
they can understand them as well as they understand their 
five fingers. 

(iii.) That, as far as is possible, instruction should be 
given through the senses, that it may be retained in the 
memory with less effort. 

42. For example, the sense of hearing should always 
be conjoined with that of sight, and the tongue should 
be trained in combination with the hand. The subjects 
that are taught should not merely be taught orally, and 
thus appeal to the ear alone, but should be pictorially 
illustrated, and thus develope the imagination by the help 
of the eye. Again, the pupils should learn to speak with 
their mouths and at the same time to express what they 
say with their hands, that no study may be proceeded 
with before what has already been learned is thoroughly 
impressed on the eyes, the ears, the understanding, and 
the memory. With this object, it is desirable to represent 
pictorially, on the walls of the class-room, everything that 
is treated of in the class, by putting up either precepts 
and rules or pictures and diagrams illustrative of the 
subjects taught. If this be done, it is incredible how 
much it assists a teacher to impress his instruction on the 



I40 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

pupils' minds. It is also useful if the scholars learn to 
write down in their note-books or among their collections 
of idioms everything that they hear or read, since in this 
way the imagination is assisted and it is easier to re- 
member them later on. 



Ninth Principle 

43. Nothing is produced by nature of which the practical 
application is not soon evident. 

For example, when a bird is formed it is soon evident 
that the wings are intended for flying and the legs for 
running. In the same way every part of a tree has its 
use, down to the skin and the bloom that surround the 
fruit. 

Therefore 

44. Imitation. — The task of the pupil will be made 
easier, if the master, when he teaches him anything, show 
him at the same time its practical application in every-day 
life. This rule must be carefully observed in teaching 
languages, dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, physics, etc. 
If it be neglected, the things that you are explaining will 
seem to be monsters from the new world, and the attitude 
of the pupil, who is indifferent whether they exist or no, 
will be one of belief rather than of knowledge. When 
things are brought under his notice and their use is 
explained to him, they should be put into his hands that 
he may assure himself of his knowledge and may derive 
enjoyment from its application. 

Therefore 

45. Those things only should be taught whose applica- 
tion can be easily demonstrated. 

Tenth Principle 

46. Nature is uniform in all its operations. 

For instance, the production of all birds, and, indeed, 
of all living creatures, resembles that of any single bird 



THE PRINCIPLES OF FACILITY 141 

which you may choose. It is only in the minor details 
that there are differences. So too in the case of plants, 
the development of one plant from its seed, the planting 
and the growth of a single tree, serve as illustrations 
of the way in which all the others, without exception, 
develope. One leaf on a tree resembles all the others, 
and in this respect does not change from year to year. 

47. Deviation. — Differences of method, therefore, con- 
fuse the young, and make their studies distasteful to them, 
since not only do different teachers use different systems, 
but even individual teachers vary their method. For 
example, languages are taught in one way, dialectic in 
another, though both might be brought under the same 
method, in accordance with the harmony of the universe, 
and the universal and intimate relations that exist between 
objects and words. 

48. — Rectification. — Henceforth, therefore 

(i.) The same method of instruction must be used for 
all the sciences, the same for all the arts, and the same 
for all languages. 

(ii.) In each school the same arrangement and treat- 
ment should be adopted for all studies. 

(iii.) The class-books for each subject should, as far as 
is possible, be of the same edition. 

In this way difficulties will be avoided and progress 
will be made easy. 






CHAPTER XVin 

THE PRINCIPLES OF THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND IN 
LEARNING 

I. It is a common complaint that there are few who leave 

\ school with a thoroug h education, anH that mn<^l lyipn 1-gfain 

I nothing but a veneeTT'^ rners shadow of tyue knowledpg . 
This complaint is corroborated by facts. 

2. The cause of this phenomenon appears on investiga- 
^tion to be twofold : either that the schools occupy them- 
selves with insignificant and unimportant studies, to the 
neglect of those that are more weighty, ox. that the pupils 

. forget what they have learned, since most of it merely goes 
through their heads and does not stick fast there. This 
last fault is so common that there are few who do not 
lament it. For if everything that we have ever read, heard, 
and mentally appreciated were always ready to hand in 
our memories, how learned we should appear ! We do, it 
is true, make practical use of much that we have learned, 
but the amount that we recollect is unsa,tisfactory, and the 
fact remains that we are continually trying to pour water 
into a sieve. 

3. But can no cure be found for this ? Certainly there 
can, if once more we go to the school of nature, and in- 
v estigate t he methods that she adopts to give gnduran ce 
to the beings" which^he has created. 

I manitain tHaf a method can be found by means of 
which each person will be enabled to bring into his mental 
consciousness not only what he has learned, but more as 

142 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING 143 

well ; since he will recall with ease all that he has learned 
from teachers or from books, and, at the same time, will be 
able to pass sound judgment on the objective facts to 
which his information refers. 

4. This will be possible : 

(i.) If only those subjects that are of real use be taken 
in hand. 

(ii.) If these be taught without digression or interruption. 

(iii.) If a thorough grounding precede instruction in 
detail. 

(iv.) If this grounding be carefully given. 

(v.) If all that follows be based on this grounding, and 
on nothing else. lyl^ 

(vi.) If, in every subject that consists of several parts, 
these parts be linked together as much as possible. - o^^ 

~(vii.) If all that comes later be based on what has gone >^ 
before. 

(viii.) If great stress be laid on the points of resemblance ^ 
between cognate subjects. 

(ix.) If all studies be arranged with reference to the 
ijjtelligence and memory of the pupils, and the nature of r/ 
language. 

(x.) If knowledge be fixed in the memory by constant \, 
practice. v 

We will now consider each of these principles in detail. 

First Principle 

5. Nature produces nothing that is useless. 

For example, nature, when commencing to form a bird, 
does not give it scales, gills, horns, four feet, or any other 
organs that it cannot use, but suppUes a head, a heart, 
wings, etc. In the same way a tree is not given ears, 
eyes, down, or hair, but bark, bast, wood, and roots. 

6. Imitation in the arts. — In the same way no one who 
wishes to grow fruit in his fields, orchards, and gardens, 
plants them with weeds, nettles, thistles, and thorns, but 
with good seeds and plants. 



144 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

7. The builder, also, who wishes to erect a well-built 
house, does not collect straw, litter, dirt, or brushwood, 
but stones, bricks, oak planks, and similar materials of 
good quality. 

8. And in schools. — In schools therefore 

(i.) Nothing should be studied, unless it be of un- 
doubted use in this world and in the world to come, — its 
use in the world to come being the more important 
(Jerome reminds us that knowledge, that is to be of 
service to us in heaven, must be acquired on earth). 

(ii.) If it be necessary to teach the young much that is 
of value solely in this world (and this cannot be avoided), 
care must be taken that while a real advantage is gained 
for our present life, our heavenly welfare be not hindered 
thereby. 

9. Why then pursue worthless studies? What object 
is there in learning subjects that are of no use to those 
who know them and the lack of which is not felt by those 
who do not know them ? subjects, too, which are certain to 
be forgotten as time passes on and the business of life 
becomes more engrossing? This short life of ours has 
more than enough to occupy it, even if we do not waste it 
on worthless studies. Schools must therefore be organised 
in such a way that the scholars learn nothing but what is 
of value (the value and importance of recreation will 
be treated of in the right place). 

Second Principle 

I o. When bodies are being formed, nature omits nothing that 
is necessary for their production. 

For example : in the formation of a bird, nature does 
not forget the head, the wings, the legs, the claws, the 
skin, or anything, in short, that is an essential part of a 
winged being of this kind. 

II. Imitation in schools. — In the same way schools, 
when they educate men, must educate them in every way, 
and suit them not only for the occupations of this life, 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING 145 

but for eternity as well. Indeed it is with a view to the 
future life that all strenuous human effort should be under- 
taken. 

1 2. Not the sciences alone, therefore, should be taught 
in schools, but morality and piety as well. Now a training 
in the sciences improves the understanding, the faculty of 
speech, and manual dexterity, so that everything that is 
of use can be suitably considered, discussed, and put into 
practice. If any one of these elements be omitted, a great 
gap is left, and, as result, not only is the education defective 
but the stability of the whole is endangered. Nothing 
can be stable unless all its parts are in intimate connection 
with one another. 

Third Principle 

13. Nature does not operate on anything^ unless it possess 
a foundation or roots. 

A plant does not shoot upwards before it has taken 
root, and would wither and die if it tried to do so. For 
this reason a clever gardener does not insert a graft unless 
he sees that the stock has taken root. 

In the case of birds and^ be^s we find, in the place of 
roots, the intestines (for in {Mse the vitality is situated), 
and this part of the body^ the first to be formed, being, 
as it were, the foundation of the rest. 

14. Imitation. — In the same way an architect does not 
build a house without first laying a solid foundation, since 
otherwise the whole structure would soon fall down. 
Similarly an artist paints a foundation of colour before he 
puts in the fine shades ; otherwise the colours would easily 
crack and fade. 

15. Deviation. — The laying of such a foundation for 
their instruction is neglected by those teachers (i) who 
take no trouble to make their pupils diligent and attentive, 
and (2) who do not begin by giving a general idea of the 
whole course of study, so that the pupils may realise how ' 
much of the scheme projected is actually got through. 



146 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

For if the scholars perform their work without inclination, 
without attention, and without intelligence, how can any 
lasting result be expected ? 

1 6. Rectification. — Therefore 

(i.) Every study should be commenced in such a 
manner as to awaken a real liking for it on the part of the 
scholars, and this should be done by proving to them how 
excellent, useful, pleasant, and otherwise desirable it is. 
/ (ii.) A general notion of the language or art (consisting 
,of a sketch, as slight as is possible, but yet embracing 
every branch of the subject in question) should be given 
to the pupil before the detailed consideration of the sub- 
ject is proceeded with, in order that he may thus, at the 
very beginning, realise its aims, limits, and internal struc- 
ture. For as the skeleton is the foundation of the whole 
body, so the general sketch of an art is the foundation of 
the whole art. 

Fourth Principle 

17. Nature strikes her roots deep. 

Thus, the entrails of an animal are buried deep in its 
body. The deeper a tree strikes its roots, the firmer it 
will stand ; while if the roots only just penetrate beneath 
the turf it is easily rooted up. 

18. Correction of the deviation. — It follows, therefore, 
that the desire to learn should be thoroughly awakened in 
the pupils, and that the general conception of the subject 
should be thoroughly got into their heads. Until this has 
been carefully done a more detailed exposition of the art 
or language should not be attempted. 

Fifth Principle 

19. Nature developes everything from its roots and from 
no other source. 

The wood, bark, leaves, flowers, and fruit of a tree come 
from the roots and from no other source. For although 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING 147 

the rain may fall on the tree and the gardener may water 
it, the moisture must all be taken up through the roots, 
and then dispersed through the trunk, branches, boughs, 
leaves, and fruit. On this account the gardener, though 
he takes his graft from some other source, must let it into 
the stock in such a way that it may become incorporated 
with it, absorb moisture from its roots, and, nourished in 
this way, be capable of development. It is from the 
roots that a tree derives everything, and there is no neces- 
sity to supply leaves and branches from any other source. 
It is just the same when a bird is to be clothed with 
feathers. They are not taken from another bird, but 
grow from the innermost part of the body. 

20. Imitation in the arts. — The prudent builder, too, 
erects a house in such a way that it can stand securely 
on its own foundations and can be supported by its own 
beams, without the need of any external props. For, if a 
building need external support, this is a proof of incom- 
pleteness and of a tendency to fall down. 

21. When a man lays out a fishpond or a lake he finds 
a spring, and, by means of canals and pipes, conducts its 
water to his reservoir ; but he does not allow water to flow 
in from any other source, nor does he use rain-water. . 

22. From this precept it follows that the proper educa-N 
tion of the young does not consist in stuffing their heads 
with a mass of words, sentences, and ideas dragged 
together out of various authors, but in opening their 
understanding to the outer world, so that a living stream 
may flow from their own minds, just as leaves, flowers, and 
fruit spring from the buds on a tree, while in the following' 
year a fresh bud is again formed and a fresh shoot, with 
its leaves, flowers, and fruit, grows from it. 

23. Terrible deviation in schools. — Hitherto the schools 
have not taught their pupils to develope their minds like 
young trees from their own roots, but rather to deck them- 
selves with branches plucked from other trees, and, like 
^sop's crow, to adorn themselves with the feathers of 
other birds ; they have taken no trouble to open the 



148 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

fountain of knowledge that is hidden in the scholars, but 
instead have watered them with water from other sources. 
That is to say, they have not shown them the objective 
world as it exists in itself, but only what this, that, or the 
other author has written or thought about this or that 
object, so that he is considered the most learned who best 
knows the contradictory opinions which many men have 
held about many things. The result is that most men 
possess no information but the quotations, sentences, and 
opinions that they have collected by rummaging about in 
various authors, and thus piece their knowledge together 
like a patchwork quilt. " Oh you imitators, you slavish 
pack ! " cries Horace. A slavish pack indeed, and accus- 
tomed to carry burdens that are not their own. 

24. But why, I ask you, do we allow ourselves to be 
led astray by the opinions of other men, when what is 
sought is a knowledge of the true nature of things ? Have 
we nothing better to do than to follow others to their 
cross-roads and down their by-ways, and to study atten- 
tively the deviation that each makes from the right path ? 
O brother mortals ! let us hasten to the goal and give up 
this idle wandering. If our goal be firmly set before us, why 
should we not hasten to it by the shortest road ; why should 
we use the eyes of other men in preference to our own ? 

25. The methods by which all branches of knowledge 
are taught show that it really is the schools that are to 
blame for this ; that they really teach us to see by means 
of the eyes of others, and to become wise by employing 
their brains. For these methods do not teach us to dis- 
cover springs and conduct streams of water from them, but 
place before us the water that has been drawn off from 
various authors and teach us to return from these to the 
springs. For the dictionaries (at least so far as I know, 
though perhaps with the exception of the one by Cnapius,^^ 
but even in this one there are some things left to be 
desired, as will be shown in chap, xxii.) do not teach 
how to speak but only how to understand ; the grammars 
do not teach how to construct sentences but only how to 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING 149 

dissect them ; and no vulgary gives any assistance towards 
joining the phrases skilfully together in conversation, or 
towards ringing changes on them, but only provides a hap- 
hazard collection of sentences. Scarcely any one teaches 
physics by ocular demonstration and by experiment, but 
only by quoting the works of Aristotle and of others. No 
one seeks to form the morals by working on the inward 
sources of action, but by purely external explanations and 
analysis of the virtues a superficial veneer of morality is 
given. This will be more evident when I come to the 
special methods of the arts and languages, but still more 
so, please God, when I give the outline of my Pansophia. 

26. It is really to be wondered at that the men of 
former times did not understand this better, or that this 
error has not long since been rectified by those of the 
present day ; since it is certain that we have here the 
actual reason why such slow progress has hitherto been 
made. Does the builder teach his apprentice the art of 
building by pulling down a house? Oh no; it is during 
the process of building a house that he shows him how to 
select his materials, how to fit each stone into its proper 
place, how to prepare them, raise them, lay them and join 
them together. For he who understands how to build 
will not need to be shown how to pull down, and he who 
can sew a garment together will be able to unrip it without 
any instruction. But it is not by pulling down houses or 
by unripping garments that the arts of building or of 
tailoring can be learned. 

27. It is only too evident that the methods which are 
so faulty in this respect have not been rectified (i) since 
the education of many, if not of most men, consists of 
nothing but a string of names; that is to say, they can 
repeat the technical terms and the rules of the arts, but 
do not know how to apply them practically; (2) since 
the education of no man attains the position of universal 
knowledge that can give itself support, strength, and 
breadth, but is a heterogeneous compound of which one 
part is borrowed from one source and another from 



ISO THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

another, whose elements are joined together on no logical 
principle, and which therefore bears no worthy fruit. For 
the knowledge that consists of the collected sayings and 
opinions of various authors resembles the tree which 
peasants erect when they make holiday, and which, 
though covered with branches, flowers, fruit, garlands, and 
crowns, cannot grow or even last, because its ornamenta- 
tion does not spring from its roots, but is only hung on. 
Such a tree bears no fruit, and the branches that are 
attached to it wither and fall off. But a man who is 
thoroughly educated resembles a tree which grows from its 
own roots and is nourished by its own sap, and which, on 
that account, increases in size (and from day to day with 
more vigour), and puts forth leaves, blossoms, and fruits. 

28. Rectification. — We arrive therefore at the following 
conclusion : men must, as far as is possible, be taught to 
become wise by studying the heavens, the earth, oaks, and 
beeches, but not by studying books; that is to say, they 
must learn to know and investigate the things themselves, 
and not the observations that other people have made 
about the things. We shall thus tread in the footsteps of 
the wise men of old, if each of us obtain his knowledge 
from the originals, from things themselves, and from no 
other source. We may therefore lay it down as a law : 

(i.) That all knowledge should be deduced from the 
unchanging principles of the subject in question. 

(ii.) That no information should be imparted on the 
grounds of bookish authority, but should be authorised by 
actual demonstration to the senses and to the intellect. 

(iii.) That in dealing with any subject the analytic 
method should never be used exclusively ; in fact, pre- 
ponderance should rather be given to the synthetic method. 

Sixth Principle 

29. The more the uses to which nature applies anything, 
the more distinct subdivisions that thing will possess. 

For instance, the greater the number of joints into 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING iji 

which the limbs of any animal are divided, the more 
complex will be its movements, as we can see if we compare 
a horse with a snake. In the same way a tree stands more 
firmly and is more picturesque if its branches and roots 
spread out well and stand away from one another. 

30. Imitation. — In the education of the young, care 
should be taken that everything that is taught be carefully 
defined and kept in its place, so that not only the teacher, 
but the pupil as well, may know exactly what progress he 
has made and what he is actually doing. It will also be 
of great assistance if all the books that are used in schools 
follow nature's example in this respect. 

Seventh Principle 

3 1 . Nature never remains at rest, but advances continually; 
never begins anything fresh at the expense of work already in 
hand, but pjyceeds mith wh a£ she has b egun, and brings it to 
completion. 

For instance, in the formation of the embryo, it is the 
feet, the head, and the heart that come first into existence, 
and these organs are not discarded but are perfected. A 
tree which is transplanted does not cast the branches that 
have previously grown upon it, but continues to provide 
them with sap and vitality, that with each successive year 
they may put forth more shoots. 

32. Imitation, — In schools therefore 

(i.) All the studies should be so arranged that those 
which come later may depend on those that have gone 
before, and that those which come first may be fixed in 
the mind by those that follow. 

(ii.) Each subject taught, when it has been thoroughly 
grasped by the understanding, must be impressed on the 
memory as well. 

33. For since, in this natural method of ours, all that 
precedes should be the foundation of all that comes after, 
it is absolutely essential that this foundation be thoroughly 
laid. For that only which has been thoroughly understood, j 



1 52 TffE GREA T DID A CTIC 

and committed to memory as well, can be called the 
property of the mind. 

Truly does Quintilian say : "The acquisition of knowledge 
depends on the memory. Instruction is in vain if we forget 
what we hear or read." Ludovicus Vives also says : "The 
memory should be exercised in early youth, since practice 
developes it, and we should therefore take care to practise 
Jit as much as possible. Now, in youth, the labour is not 
felt, and thus the memory developes without any trouble 
and becomes very retentive." And in the Introduction to 
Philosophy he says : " The memory should not be permitted 
to rest, for there is no faculty that acts with greater readi- 
ness or developes more through action. Commit something 
to memory daily, for the more you commit to memory the 
more faithfully it will be retained, and the less, the less 
faithfully.'' The example of nature shows us that this is true. . 
The more sap a tree sucks up, the stronger it grows, and, 
conversely, the stronger it grows, the more sap it pours 
through its fibres. An animal also developes in proportion 
to the strength' of its digestion, and, conversely, the larger 
it grows the more nourishment it requires and the more it 
digests. This is the characteristic of every natural body 
that developes. In this respect, therefore, children should 
not be spared (though of course no over-pressure should 
be applied), for the foundations of unfailing progress will 
thus be laid. 

Eighth Principle 

34. Nature knits everything together in continuous com- 
bination. 

For instance, when a bird is formed, limb is joined to 
limb, bone to bone, and sinew to sinew. So too in the 
case of a tree, the trunk is joined to the roots, the branches 
to the trunk, the young shoots to the branches, the buds to 
the shoots, and to these again the leaves, flowers, and fruits ; 
so that, though there may be thousands of each, the whole 
constitutes one tree. So with a house, if it is to be durable, 
the walls must rest on the foundations, the ceilings and the 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING 153 

roof upon the walls, and, in short, all the parts, from the 
largest to the smallest, must be connected and fitted 
together, so that they form a single house. 

35. Imitation. — From this it follows : iv 
(i.) That the studies of a lifetime should be so arranged 

that they form an encyclopaedic whole, in which all the parts 
spring from a common source and each is in its right place, i 

(ii.) That everything taught should be supported by good 
reasons, so that no easy entrance may be given either for 
doubt or for forgetfulness. 

Indeed these reasons are the nails, the clasps, and the 
clamps that hold an object fast in the memory and prevent | 
it from fading away. 

36. Now, to strengthen all information by giving reasons 
is equivalent to explaining things by their causes. That is 
to say, not only the nature of each object is pointed out 
but also the reason why it cannot be otherwise. For 
knowledge is nothing but the acquaintance with an object 
that we gain by mastering its causes. For instance, if the 
question arose whether it would be more correct to say 
totus populus or cunctus populus, and the teacher were merely 
to say " cunctus populus is the right phrase," but omitted to 
give any reason, the pupil would soon forget it. If, on the 
other hand, he were to say " Cunctus is a contraction for 
conjunctus,^ and therefore totus should be used when the 
object denoted is homogeneous, cunctus when the con- 
ception is collective, as here," it is scarcely conceivable that 
the pupil could forget it, unless his intelligence were very 
limited. Again, if the grammatical question were to arise 
why we say mea refert, tua refert, but ejus refert ; that is to 
say, why we use the ablative (as it is supposed to be) in the 
first and second persons, but the genitive in the third 
person ; if I were to answer, that refert is a contraction for 
res fert, and that the phrases are therefore mea res fert, tua 
res fert, ejus res fert (or in their contracted form mea refert, 
tua refert, ejus refert), and that therefore mea and tua are 
not the ablative but the nominative, would not the pupil 
be stimulated to further efforts ? 



154 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

The scholars, therefore, should learn, and learn 
thoroughly, the etymology of all words, the reasons for 
all constructions, and the principles on which the rules for 
the various subjects of study have been formed (the 
principles of the sciences should in the first instance be 
impressed on the mind, not by merely giving the reasons, 
but by actual demonstration on the objects themselves). 

This will prove most congenial to the pupils, and will 
therefore be of the greatest use in paving the way for the 
most thorough education possible ; for their eyes will be 
opened to a remarkable extent, and they will acquire the 
habit of easily and naturally advancing from one thing to 
another. 

37. In schools, therefore, everything should be taught 
through its causes. 

Ninth Principle 

38. Nature preserves a due proportion between the roots 
and the branches, with respect to both quality and quantity. 

The development of the branches above the earth is 
proportionate to that of the roots beneath. This could 
not be otherwise ; for if the tree were only to grow upwards 
it would be unable to maintain its erect position, since it 
is the roots that help it to do so. If, on the other hand, 
it only grew downwards it would be useless, for it is the 
branches and not the roots that bear the fruit. With 
animals also there is a close connection between the 
external and the internal organs, for if the internal organs 
are healthy the external ones are so also. 

39. Imitation. — The same holds good of education. It 
must first be applied to the inner roots of knowledge, and 
thus develope and gain strength, while at the same time 
care must be taken that it afterwards spread out into 
branches and foliage. That is to say, whenever instruction 
is given the pupil should be taught to apply his knowledge 
practically, as in the case of a language by speaking, and 
not merely to assimilate it mentally. 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING 155 

40. Therefore 

(i.) With every subject of instruction the question of its 
practical use must be raised, that nothing useless may be 
learned. 

(ii.) Whatever has been learned should be communicated 
by one pupil to the other, that no knowledge may remain 
unused. For in this sense only can we understand the 
saying : " Thy knowledge is of no avail if none other 
know that thou knowest." No source of knowledge, there- 
fore, should be opened, unless rivulets flow from it. But 
of this will say more in the following principle. 

Tenth Principle 

4 1 . Nature becomes fruitful and strong through constant 
movement. 

Thus, when a bird hatches eggs, it does not only warm 
them, but, in order that they may be warmed equally on 
all sides, it turns them round daily (this can be easily 
observed in the case of geese, hens, and doves, since these 
hatch their eggs under our very eyes). When the chicken 
has broken through the shell it exercises itself by moving its 
beak, its limbs, and its wings, by stretching itself and raising 
itself from the ground, and by repeated attempts to walk 
and to fly, until it is sufficiently strong to do so. 

The more a tree is buffeted by the winds, the faster it 
grows and the deeper it drives its roots. Indeed it is 
healthy for all plants to be stimulated by rain, storms, hail, 
thunder, and lightning, and for this reason those localities 
that are greatly exposed to storms of wind and of rain 
ought to produce harder wood than others. 

42. Imitation in the mechanical arts. — In the same way 
the builder leaves the wind and the sun to make his build- 
ings dry and firm. The smith also, who wishes to harden 
and temper his iron, places it repeatedly in the fire and in 
water, and thus, by alternating cold and heat, and by 
repeatedly softening the metal, ultimately renders it hard 
and durable. 



IS6 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

43. From this it follows that education cannot attain to 
thoroughness without frequent and suitable repetitions of 
and exercises on the subjects taught. We may learn the 
most suitable mode of procedure by observing the natural 
movements that underlie the processes of nutrition in living 
bodies, namely those of collection, digestion, and distribu- 
tion. For in the case of an animal (and in that of a plant 
as well) each member seeks for digestion food which may 
both nurture that member (since this retains and assimilates 
part of the digested food) and be shared with the other 
members, that the well-being of the whole organism may 
be preserved (for each member serves the other). In the 
same way that teacher will greatly increase the value of 
his instruction who 

(i.) Seeks out and obtains intellectual food for him- 
self. 

(ii.) Assimilates and digests what he has found. 

(iii.) Distributes what he has digested, and shares it with 
others. 

44. These three elements are to be found in the well- 
known Latin couplet : — 

To ask many questions, to retain the answers, and to teach 

what one retains to others ; 
These three enable the pupil to surpass his master. 

Questioning takes place when a pupil interrogates his 
teachers, his companions, or his books about some subject 
that he does not understand. Retention follows when the 
information that has been obtained is committed to memory, 
or is written down for greater security (since few are so 
fortunate as to possess the power of retaining everything 
in their minds). Teaching takes place when knowledge 
that has been acquired is communicated to fellow-pupils 
or other companions. 

With the two first of these principles the schools are 
quite familiar, with the third but little ; its introduction, 
however, is in the highest degree desirable. The saying, 
" He who teaches others, teaches himself," is very true, not 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING 157 

only because constant repetition impresses a fact indelibly 
on the mind, but because the process of teaching in itself 
gives a deeper insight into the subject taught. Thus it was 
that the gifted Joachim Fortius ^^ used to say that, if he had 
heard or read anything once, it slipped out of his memory 
within a month ; but that if he taught it to others it became 
as much a part of himself as his fingers, and that he did 
not believe that anything short of death could deprive him 
of it. His advice, therefore, was that, if a student wished 
to make progress, he should arrange to give lessons daily in 
the subjects which he was studying, even if he had to hire 
his pupils. " It is worth your while," he says, " to sacrifice 
your bodily comfort to a certain extent for the sake of 
having some one who will listen while you teach, or, in 
other words, while you make intellectual progress." 

45. This would certainly be of use to many and could 
easily be put into practice if the teacher of each class would 
introduce this excellent system to his pupils. It might be 
done in the following way : in each lesson, after the teacher 
has briefly gone through the work that has been prepared, 
and has explained the meanings of the words, one of the 
pupils should be allowed to rise from his place and repeat 
what has just been said in the same order (just as if he 
were the teacher of the rest), to give his explanations in 
the same words, and to employ the same examples, and if 
he make a mistake he should be corrected. Then another 
can be called up and made go through the same perform- 
ance while the rest listen. After him a third, a fourth, 
and as many as are necessary, until it is evident that all 
have understood the lesson and are in a position to explain 
it. In carrying this out great care should be taken to call 
up the clever boys first, in order that, after their example, 
the stupid ones may find it easier to follow. 

46. Exercises of this kind will have a fivefold use. 

(i.) The teacher is certain to have attentive pupils. 
For since the scholars may, at any time, be called up and 
asked to repeat what the teacher has said, each of them 
will be afraid of breaking down and appearing ridiculous 



IS8 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

before the others, and will therefore attend carefully and 
allow nothing to escape him. In addition to this, the 
habit of brisk attention, which becomes second nature if 
practised for several years, will fit the scholar to acquit 
himself well in active life. 

(ii.) The teacher will be able to know with certainty if 
his pupils have thoroughly grasped everything that he has 
taught them. If he finds that they have not, he will 
consult his own interest as well as that of his pupils by 
repeating his explanation and making it clearer. 

(iii.) If the same thing be frequently repeated, the dullest 
intelligences will grasp it at last, and will thus be able 
to keep pace with the others ; while the brighter ones 
will be pleased at obtaining such a thorough grip of the 
subject. 

(iv.) By means of such constant repetition the scholars 
will gain a better acquaintance with the subject than they 
could possibly obtain by private study, even with the 
greatest diligence, and will find that, if they just read the 
lesson over in the morning and then again in the evening, it 
will remain in their memories easily and pleasantly. When, 
by this method of repetition, the pupil has, as it were, 
been admitted to the office of teacher, he will attain a 
peculiar keenness of disposition and love of learning ; he 
will also acquire the habit of remaining self-possessed while 
explaining anything before a number of people, and this 
will be of the greatest use to him throughout life. 

47. Following out this idea, the scholars, when they 
meet one another after school hours, or when they go for 
walks together, should compare notes and discuss informa- 
tion that they have recently acquired, or should converse 
on anything new that attracts their attention. It would 
be of great assistance, when a certain number of scholars 
meet for such discussion, if one of them (to be chosen 
either by lot or by vote) were to take the place of teacher, 
and control the proceedings. If the scholar thus selected 
by his companions refuse the position, he should be 
severely reprimanded. For, far from being rejected, such 



THOROUGHNESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING 159 

opportunities of teaching and of learning should be sought 
after and competed for. 

Of written exercises (a great help to progress) we will 
speak in our chapters on the Vernacular-School and on 
the Latin-School (chaps, xxvii. and xxviii.). 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE PRINCIPLES OF CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN 
TEACHING 

I. "But these projects are too wearisome and too com- 
prehensive,'' many readers will here remark. "What a 
number of teachers and of libraries, and how much labour 
will be necessary in order that thorough instruction may 
be given in one subject ! " I answer : This is undoubtedly 
so, and unless our labours are shortened the task will be 
no easy one ; for this art of ours is as long, as wide, and 
as deep as the universe that has to be subdued by our 
minds. But who does not know that diffuse and difficult 
things can be brought into a small compass? who is 
ignorant that weavers can weave together a hundred 
thousand threads with the greatest rapidity, and can pro- 
duce from these a great variety of stuffs? or that millers 
can grind thousands of grains with the greatest ease, and 
can separate the bran from the flour with great exactness 
and without any difficulty ? Every one knows that engineers, 
without the slightest trouble and with comparatively small 
machines, can raise enormous weights, and that a weight 
of one ounce, if at a sufficient distance from the fulcrum 
of a lever, can counterbalance many pounds. 

We see, therefore, that great achievements are more 
often a question of skill than of strength. Are learned 
men then to be the only people who do not know how 
to conduct their affairs with skill? Surely shame should 
compel us to emulate the inventive spirit of other profes- 

i6o 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING i6i 

sions and find a remedy for the difficulties with which 
schools have hitherto struggled. 

2. It is inapossible to find a remedy until we have dis- 
covered the diseases and their causes. What can it be 
that has impeded the efforts of the schools and hindered 
their success to such an extent that most men during their 
whole stay at school do not traverse the whole range of 
the sciences and arts, while some of them scarcely even 
cross the threshold? 

3. The causes of this are undoubtedly the following : 
firstly, no fixed landmarks were set up, which might serve 
as goals to be reached by the scholars at the end of each 
year, month, or day, and there was a complete lack of , 
system. 

4. Secondly, the roads that would infallibly lead to 
these goals were not pointed out. 

5. Thirdly, things that should naturally be associated 
were not joined together, but were kept apart. For in- 
stance, the scholars in elementary schools were taught to 
read, but were not given lessons in writing till some months 
afterwards. In the Latin-School boys were allowed to 
spend some years in learning words without any reference 
to their meanings, so that their boyhood was wholly occu- I 
pied by grammatical studies, and all philosophic interest | 
was reserved for a later period. In the same way the \ 
scholars were only allowed to learn, never to teach, though 
all these things (reading and writing, words and things, 
learning and teaching) should be associated, just as, in/ 
running, the raising of the feet is combined with the 
setting of them on the ground again, or, in conversation, 
listening is combined with answering, or, in playing ball, 
throwing is combined with catching. 

6. Fourthly, the arts and the sciences were scarcely 
ever taught as part of an encyclopsedic whole, but were 
dealt out piece-meal. . This has been the reason why, in 
the eyes of the scholars, they seemed like a heap of wood 
or of faggots, in which the exact connection and combining- 
links can scarcely be discerned. Thus it came to pass 

J? 



i62 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

that some grasped one fact, others another, and that none 
received a really thorough and universal education. 

7. Fifthly, many different methods were employed. 
Each school and even each teacher used a different one. 
What was worse, teachers would use one method in one 
subject or language, and another in another, and, worst of 
all, even in one individual subject they varied their method, 
so that the scholar scarcely understood in what way he was 
expected to learn. This was the cause of the many delays 
that took place, and of the lassitude of the scholar, who had 
frequently no desire even to attempt new branches of study. 

8. Sixthly, no method was known by which instruction 
could be given to all the pupils in a class at the same time ; 
the individual only was taught. With a large number of 
pupils this must have been an impossible task for the 
teacher. The pupils also must have found it very wearisome 
and extremely irksome, if each had to go on preparing 
work until his turn arrived. 

9. Seventhly, if there were several teachers, this was 
a fresh source of confusion ; since each hour some new 
subject was introduced. Not to mention the fact that a 
diversity of teachers tends to distract the mind quite as 
much as a diversity of books. 

10. Finally, both in school and out of it, the scholars 
had perfect freedom as regards the books they read, and 
the teachers gave them no assistance in their choice. For 
all were imbued with the idea that to read many authors 
afforded many opportunities of making progress, whereas 
such diversity produced nothing but distraction. It was 
not surprising, therefore, that very few mastered all the 
branches of study. The wonder was that any one was able 
to find his way out of such a labyrinth, — ^and indeed only 
the most gifted succeeded in doing so. 

1 1. For the future, therefore, hindrances and delays of 
this sort must be set aside, and we must make straight for our 
goal, neglecting everything that is not of immediate service. 
As the proverb says : " Where small means suffice, great 
should not be used." 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 163 

12. Let us choose Jji ^uii ia r imitation, since it affords 
a striking example oi me operafionTSr nattrre. Its functions 
are laborious and almost unlimited (namely, to send forth 
its rays over the whole world and to supply all the elements, 
minerals, plants, and animals, of which countless species 
exist, with light, warmth, life, and strength), but it proves 
equal to them all, and every year fulfils the circle of its 

^uties in the most admirable manner. 

13. We will therefore examine its various principles of 
action, with reference to the above-mentioned desiderata 
of school management. 

(i.) The sun does not occupy itself with any single 
object, animal, or tree ; but lights and warms the whole 
earth at once. 

(ii.) It gives light to all things with the same rays ; 
covers all things with moisture by the same processes 
of evaporation and condensation ; it causes the same 
wind to blow on all things ; it puts all things in motion by 
the same warmth and cold. 

(iii.) It causes spring, summer, autumn, and winter to 
make their appearance in all lands at the same time. At 
the same time, through its agency, the trees grow green, 
blossom, and bear fruit (though naturally some do so 
earlier than others). 

(iv.) If always preserves the same order; one day 
resembles another, one year resembles the next. It always 
operates on one object by the same method. 

(v.) It produces everything from its elementary form, 
and from no other source. 

(vi.) It produces in combination everything that ought 
to be combined ; wood with its bark and its core, a flower 
with its leaves, a fruit with its skin and its stalk. 

(vii.) It causes everything to develope through definite 
stages, so that one stage prepares the way for the next, 
and each stage follows naturally from the previous one. 

(viii.) Finally, it brings into existence nothing that is 
useless, or destroys such an object if it be accidentally 
produced. 



i64 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

14. In imitation of this 

' (i.) There should only be one teacher in each school, 
or at any rate in each class. 

(ii.) Only one author should be used for each subject 
studied. 

(iii.) The same exercise should be given to the whole 
class. 

(iv.) All subjects and languages should be taught by 
the same method. 

(v.) Everything should be taught thoroughly, briefly, 
and pithily, that the understanding may be, as it were, un- 
locked by one key, and may then unravel fresh difficulties 
of its own accord. 

(vi.) All things that are naturally connected ought to 
be taught in combination. 

(vii.) Every subject should be taught in definitely graded 
steps, that the work of one day may thus expand that of 
the previous day, and lead up to that of the morrow. 

(viii.) And finally, everything that is useless should be 
invariably discarded. 

15. If these reforms could be introduced into schools, 
there is no doubt that the whole circle of the sciences 
might be completed with an ease that surpasses our ex- 
pectation, just as the sun completes its circling course 
through the heavens every year. 

Let us therefore get to work and see if these counsels 
can be carried into effect, and how the difficulties that 
hinder their realisation can be overcome. 



\ r First Problem 

How can a single teacher teach a number of boys, no matter 
how great, at one time ? 

16. I maintain that it is not only possible for one 
teacher to teach several hundred sch olars at once, but that 
it is also essential ; smce tor both ttie teachers and their 
pupils it is by far the most advantageous system. The 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 165 

"B^^^i^^SL 

larger the number of pupils that he sees before him the 
greater the interest the teacher will take in his work 
(just as the hands of a miner tremble with excitement 
when he discovers a rich vein of ore) ; and the keener the 
teacher himself, the greater the enthusiasm that his pupils 
will display. To the scholars, in the same way, the presence 
of a number of companions will be productive not only of 
utility but also of enjoyment (for it gives pleasure to all to 
have companions in their labours) ; since they will mutually 
stimulate and assist one another. Indeed for boys of this 
age emulation is by far the best stimulus. Again, if a 
teacher's class be small, this point or that may escape the 
ears of all his pupils. But if many hear him at once, each 
one grasps as much as he can, and then, when the lesson 
is repeated, all comes back into their minds again, since 
one mind has an invigorating effect on another and one 
memory on another. In short, as a baker makes a large 
quantity of bread by a single kneading of the dough and a 
single heating of the oven, as a brick-maker burns many 
bricks at one time, as a printer prints hundreds of thousands 
of books from the same set of type, so should a teacher be 
able to teach a very large number of pupils at once and 
without the slightest inconvenience. Do we not see that 
one trunk can support innumerable branches and supply 
them with sap, and that the sun is able to vivify the whole 
earth ? 

1 7. How is this to be done ? Let us take our former 
examples, and watch the processes of nature. The trunk 
does not extend to the outermost branches, but remaining 
in its place supplies sap to the large ones that are in 
immediate connection with it, these pass it on to others, 
and these again in their turn to others, and so on until 
the smallest twigs have been reached. In the same way 
the sun does not illumine each individual tree, plant, or 
animal, but, sending forth its rays from on high, lights up 
half the world at once, and thus supplies each creature 
with light and warmth for its own use. We should here 
notice that the sun's action may be assisted by the lie of 



1 66 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

the ground. Valleys and depressions, for instance, collect 
the rays and thus attain a higher degree of warmth. 

1 8. If matters be arranged in the following manner, 
one teacher will easily be able to cope with a very large 
number of scholars. That is to say 

(i.) If he divide the whole body into classes, groups of 
ten, for example, each of which should be controlled by a 
scholar who is, in his turn, controlled by one of higher 
rank, and so on. 

(ii.) If he never give individual instruction, either 
privately out of school or publicly in school, but teach all 
the pupils at one and the same time. He should, therefore, 
never step up to any one scholar or allow any one of 
them to come to him separately, but should remain in his 
seat, where he can be seen and heard by all, just as the 
sun sends forth its rays over all things. The scholars, on 
the other hand, must direct their ears, eyes, and thoughts 
towards him and attend to everything that he tells them 
by word of mouth or explains by means of his hand or 
of diagrams. Thus, with a single blow, not one but many 
flies are killed. 

19. (iii.) With a little skill it will be possible to arrest 
the attention of the pupils, collectively and individually, 
and to imbue them with the notion that (as really is the 
case) the mouth of the teacher is a spring from which 
streams of knowledge issue and flow over them, and that, 
whenever they see this spring open, they should place 
their attention, like a cistern, beneath it, and thus allow 
nothing that flows forth to escape. The teacher also 
should take the greatest care never to speak unless all his 
pupils are listening, nor to teach unless they are all 
attending. In this connection that remark of Seneca's 
is very apposite : " We should speak to none who is 
unwilling to listen." Solomon also says : " Wisdom is 
before the face of him that hath understanding" (Prov. 
xvii. 24). That is to say, we should talk not to the winds 
but to the ears of men. 

20. It is not solely by means of the leaders or of the 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 167 

Other boys in charge, that attention can be awakened and 
retained. The teacher is himself the most important 
factor, and will succeed in his efforts if he observe eight 
rules. 

(i.) If, when he teaches, he take the trouble continually 
to introduce something that is entertaining as well as 
of practical use; for in this way the interest of the 
scholars will be excited and their attention will be 
arrested. 

(ii.) If, at the commencement of any new subject, he 1 
excite the interest of his pupils, either by placing it before 
them in an attractive manner or by asking them questions. 
These latter may either refer to what has preceded, and 
thus illustrate the connection between it and the subject 
in question, or to the new branch of study. For, if the ^ 
scholar's ignorance of the subject be mercilessly exposed, 
he may be fired with a desire to master it and understand 
it thoroughly. 

(iii.) If he stand on an elevated platform, and, keeping 
all the scholars in his sight at once, allow none of them to 
do anything but attend and look at him. 

(iv.) If he aid their attention by appealing to the 
senses, especially to that of sight, whenever it is possible 
(as we have shown above, chap, xvii., in the third rule of 
the eighth Principle). 

(v.) If he occasionally interrupt his explanation with 
the words ; Tell me (mentioning some boy), what have I 
just said ? Repeat that sentence ! Tell me ; how have I 
reached this point? and remarks of a similar kind, the 
exact nature of which must depend on the class that he 
is teaching. If any pupil be found who is not paying 
attention, he should be reprimanded or punished on the 
spot. In this way the scholars will be made keen and 
attentive. 

(vi.) Similarly, if he ask one boy, and he hesitate, he 
should pass on to a second, a third, a tenth, or a thirtieth, 
and ask for the answer without repeating the question. 
The result of this will be that all listen carefully to what 



1 68 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

is said to one of their number, and apply it to their own 
use. 

(vii.) If some of the boys cannot answer a question he 
should ask the whole class, and then, in the presence of 
the rest, praise those who answer best, that their example 
may serve to stimulate the others. If any pupil make a 
mistake he should be corrected, but at the same time the 
cause of the error (which a clever teacher will have no 
difficulty in discovering) should be made clear and the 
necessity for its recurrence obviated. It can scarcely be 
realised what an assistance to rapid progress this will be. 

(viii.) Finally, when the lesson is over, the scholars 
should be given leave to ask questions on any point that 
they wish explained, either in the present lesson or in 
a previous one. Private questioning should not be per- 
mitted. Each scholar who wishes to ask a question 
should either ask the teacher openly or get the leader of 
his division to do so (if this latter is unable to solve the 
difficulty himself). In this way the whole class will be 
benefited, and as much by the question as by the answer. 
If any scholar help to illustrate an important point by 
the intelligence of his questions, he should be commended, 
in order that the rest may thereby be incited to industry 
and keenness. 

2 1. Such a daily training of the attention will not only 
be of momentary use to the young, but will stand them 
in good stead throughout their whole lives. For if this 
training last for some years, and they get into the habit 
of concentrating their minds on whatever is being done at 
the time, they will continue to do so of their own accord 
without any external pressure. If schools are organised 
on this principle, surely we may look forward to a con- 
siderable increase in the number of clever and intelligent 
men ! 

2 2. To this it may be objected that individual attention 
is necessary to see that each scholar keeps his books 
tidy, writes his exercises carefully, and learns his lessons 
accurately, and that, if the class be large, this will take a 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 169 

great deal of time. I answer : It is not necessary for the 
teacher to hear the lessons or inspect the books of each 
individual scholar ; since he has the leaders of divisions to 
assist him, and each of these can inspect the scholars in 
his own division. 

23. The teacher, as chief inspector, should give his 
attention first to one scholar, then to another, more 
particularly with the view of testing the honesty of those 
whom he distrusts. For example, if the scholars have to 
say a repetition lesson, he should call first on one pupil, 
then on another, first one at the top of the class and then 
one at the bottom, while all the rest attend. He may thus 
ensure that each one be in readiness, since none can be 
certain that he will not be examined. If the teacher observe 
that a scholar begins his lessons without hesitation, and 
feel convinced that he knows the rest equally well, he may 
let another one go on, and if this one in turn seem well 
prepared, may pass on to a third. In this way, by hearing 
a few, he can rest assured that he has the whole class 
under his control. 

24. The same method should be pursued with dicta- 
tions. One or more scholars should read out what has 
been written, with the right punctuation and in a clear 
voice, while the rest correct what they have written in 
their books. The teacher should also himself examine the 
books from time to time, and should punish any scholar 
who has been doing his work carelessly. 

25. The correction of written translations seems to 
demand more time ; but here also the same method may 
be adopted with advantage. As soon as the leaders of 
divisions have secured attention, one scholar should be 
called upon to stand up and choose as his adversary any 
other scholar that he pleases. As soon as this latter 
stands up, the first scholar reads out his translation 
sentence by sentence, while all the rest listen attentively, 
the teacher in the meantime looking at the exercise to see 
that it is properly written. At the end of each sentence 
the scholar stops, and his adversary has the opportunity of 



I70 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

pointing out any mistake that he may have perceived. 
Then other scholars in the division, and after them the 
whole class, may make criticisms on the rendering, and 
finally the teacher supplies any point that has been 
omitted. While this is going on, the others correct the 
mistakes in their own exercises. The adversary, however, 
should not do so, but should keep his own unaltered that 
he may submit it to the criticism of his companions. As 
soon as the first sentence has been properly corrected, the 
next is taken, and so on until the exercise is finished. 
Then the adversary should read out his in the same way, 
while the original challenger takes care that he really 
reads his original translation and does not insert the 
corrections that have been made. The individual words 
and phrases are then criticised as before. 

After this, a second pair of adversaries is chosen, and 
the same procedure is repeated for as long as the time 
permits. 

26. In this connection the leaders have two duties to 
perform. Before the corrections begin they should see 
that all the scholars have their exercises ready, and while 
it is going on they should take care that each of them 
corrects his exercise when it contains the mistake that is 
under consideration. 

27. The result of this will be 

(i.) That the work of the teacher will be lightened. 

(ii.) That no scholar will be neglected. 

(iii.) That the scholars will attend better than formerly. 

(iv.) That what is said to one will be of equal advan- 
tage to all. 

(v.) The differences in the mode of expression, that 
are certain to occur in so many different translations, will 
not only improve and strengthen the scholar's acquaint- 
ance with the subject-matter, but will also give him facility 
in using the language. 

(vi.) Finally, as soon as the first, second, and third 
pair have finished, it will frequently happen that the 
others have few or no mistakes left to correct. When 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 171 

this is the case, the remainder of the time may be devoted 
to the class in general, that those who are still uncertain 
about a passage may bring forward their difficulties, or those 
who think that their rendering is better than that which 
has been given may read it and receive criticism on it. 

28. The method here suggested has been illustrated 
by an exercise in translation. Its application, however, is 
just as easy, if the exercise be one in style, rhetoric, logic, 
theology, or philosophy. 

29. We have thus seen that one teacher can instruct a 
hundred scholars with as little labour as he would expend 
in teaching a few. 

Second Problem 

How is it possible for all the scholars to be taught from the 
same books ? 

30. It is an undisputed fact that too many objects 
at once distract the attention. It will therefore be of 
immense advantage if the scholars be allowed to use no 
books but those that have been expressly composed for 
the class in which they are ; and in this way it v/ill always 
be possible to use with effect the order that was given to 
the worshippers in the temples of old, namely, "This 
shalt thou do." Since the less the eyes are distracted, 
the easier it is to concentrate the mind. 

31. Secondly, if all the materials that are required 
for instruction, blackboards, inscriptions, first reading 
books, dictionaries, schematic diagrams of the arts, etc., 
be kept in constant readiness. For if (as is often the 
case) the teacher must prepare the exercise-books for the 
scholars, and write a model for them to copy, or if he have 
to dictate grammatical rules, the text of an author, or its 
translation, how much time is thereby lost ! It is there- 
fore necessary that sufficient quantities of all the books 
which are used in each class be kept in readiness, and that 
translations be supplied with those texts that are to be 
translated into the mother-tongue. In this way the time 



172 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

that would otherwise have been employed in dictation, 
copying, and translating, can be used, and with far greater 
advantage, for explanation, repetition, and imitation. 

32. There need be no fear that any concession is here 
being made to the teacher's idleness. For a preacher is 
considered to have done his duty if he read a text from 
the Bible, explain it, and point out its application, and it 
is a matter of indifference to his hearers whether he has 
himself translated the text from the original, or has used 
some standard translation ; and in the same way it makes 
no difference to the scholars whether the teacher has 
arranged his own materials or whether some one else has 
done so for him. The important thing is that everything 
necessary be ready to hand, and that, under the teacher's 
direction, it be properly employed. It is indeed much 
better tl^at everything of this nature be prepared before- 
hand, since, on the one hand, it will be freer from errors, 
and, on the other, more time will be left for the actual 
process of instruction. 

«■ 33. For every school, therefore, books of this kind 
should be written, — in accordance with the rules already 
laid down for the attainment of ease, thoroughness, and 
economy of time, — and should constitute a complete, 
thorough, and accurate epitome of all the subjects of 

linstruction. In short, they should give a true representa- 
tion of the entire universe, which can thus be impressed 

'upon the minds of the scholars. They should also, and 
this is a most important point, be written simply and 
clearly, and should give the scholars sufficient assistance 
to enable them, if necessary, to pursue their studies with- 
out the help of a teacher. 

34. With this end in view it is desirable that they be 
written in the form of a dialogue. In this way (i) it is 
possible to suit the subject-matter and its exposition to 
the minds of the young, that neither may appear to them 
to be too full of difficulties. Nothing is more suited to 
inspire confidence than dialogue-form, and by means of it 
the mind can be gradually led on to the desired goal. It 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 173 

is in this form that playwrights have expressed their views 
on the deterioration of morals, and have thereby ad- 
monished the people; in this form Plato wrote all his 
philosophical, and St. Augustine all his theological works, 
and Cicero also has employed it largely, thus coming 
down to the level of his readers. (2) Conversational form 
excites and retains the attention, while the alternation 
between question and answer, the various forms of expres- 
sion and the amusing remarks that may be introduced, 
and even the changes that may be rung upon the dramatis 
personcB, all tend, not merely to counteract any antipathy to 
the subject, but even to create a keen desire for further 
knowledge. (3) Instruction makes a far greater impres- 
sion when given in this way. We remember an event better 
when we have seen it ourselves than when we have simply 
heard it narrated, and, in the same way, instruction that 
is given through the medium of a drama or of a dialogue 
stays in the heads of the scholars far better than if it be 
merely set forth by a teacher in the ordinary way, as 
may be proved by experience. (4) The greater part of 
our lives consists of friendly conversation, and it should 
therefore be easy to induce the young to acquire useful 
information, when they are at the same time learning 
to express themselves fluently and well. (5) Finally, 
dialogues of this kind act as a mild recreation, and 
may enliven the private gatherings of the students. 

35. It is also desirable that the books used be of the 
same edition, so that they may be similar page for page 
and line for Une. This is important both for the sake of 
reference and that the localisation of passages on certain 
pages may assist the memory. 

36. It will also be of great use if an abstract of the 
contents of all the books used in the class be placed on 
the walls of the room. This should consist of the text, 
greatly abbreviated and condensed, or of illustrative pictures 
and reliefs, by means of which the senses, the memory, 
and the understanding may be daily exercised in con- 
junction. Not without purpose was it that, as the ancients 



174 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

relate, the walls of the temple of ^sculapius were covered 
with the precepts of the art of medicine, written there by 
Hippocrates himself. This great theatre of the world, also, 
God has filled with pictures, statues, and living emblems of 
His wisdom, that He may instruct us by their means. (Of 
these pictorial aids we will say more when we treat of the 
individual classes.) 



Third Problem 

How is it possible for all the scholars in a school to do the 
same thing at one time 1 

37. It is evident that it would be a useful arrangement 
if all the pupils in a class did the same lesson at one time, 
for in this way the teacher would have less trouble and the 
scholars greater advantage. It is only when the attention 
of all is fixed on the same object, and when each tries in 
turn to correct the other, that keen rivalry can arise. In 
every way the teacher must imitate a captain of recruits. 
This latter does not exercise each of his men separately, 
but leads out a whole company at once and shows them 
how to use their arms ; and even if he explain anything 
to one man apart, the remainder have to go through 
the same exercise in order that their attention may be 
retained. 

The teacher should proceed on precisely similar .lines. 

38. Before he can do this it is necessary 

(i.) .That the course of instruction commence at one 
definite time in each year, just as the influence of the sun 
on the vegetable world commences at one definite time, 
namely, in spring. 1?v^6j 

(ii.) TEaFTHe subjects of instruction be so divided that 
each year, each month, each week, each day, and even 
each hour may have a definite task appointed for it, since, 
if this be done, everything that is proposed will be com- 
pleted with ease. But of this we will say more in the 
proper place. 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 175 



Fourth Problem 

How is it possible to teach everything according to one and 
the same method 1 

39. That there is only one natural method for all the 
sciences, and only one for all the arts and languages, 
will be shown in chaps, xx., xxi., and xxii. Any devia- 
tions that may be necessary are not important enough to 
constitute a fresh class, and are due less to peculiarities in 
the subject-matter than to the teacher himself, who must 
be guided by the ability, or the reverse, of his pupils and 
by the progress that they make in the actual languages or 
arts that he is teaching. The universal adoption of the 
natural method, therefore, will be as great a boon to 
scholars as a plain and undeviating road is to travellers. 
It will be easier to point out special aberrations, if the 
universal principle be first laid dowri as indisputable. 

Fifth Problem 

How can many things be explained in a few words ? 

40. To fill the minds of scholars with a dreary waste of 
books and of words is lost labour. For it is certain that a 
crust of bread and a mouthful of wine are more nutritious 
than a paunchful of trifle and of ragout, and that it is 
better to have a few gold pieces in one's purse than a 
hundred-weight of lead. Rightly does Seneca say of in- 
struction : " Its administration should resemble the sowing 
of seed, in which stress is laid, not on quantity, but on 
quality." The conclusion, therefore, that we reached in 
chap. V. holds good : In man, the microcosm, everything 
is contained potentially. Bring light and he will straight- 
way see. 

And indeed for men who are working in the dark the 
faintest glimmer of light is sufficient. It is therefore 
necessary to select or to write handbooks of the sciences 
and languages which are small in compass and practically 



176 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

arranged — cover the whole subject and contain a great 
deal of matter in a short space (Ecclesiasticus xxxii. 8) — 
that is to say, which place before the scholar the whole of 
the subject-matter by means of a small number of rules 
and definitions expressed in the simplest and clearest 
language, and sufficient in themselves to lead to more 
profound study. 

Sixth Problem 

How is it possible to do two or three things by a single 
operation ? 

41. The example of na ture shows that several things 
can be don€~arTJiTeTime and by means of the same opera- 
tion. It is an undoubted fact that a tree grows above the 
ground and beneath it at the same time, and that its wood, 
its bark, its leaves, and its fruit, all develope simultaneously. 
The same observation applies to animals, whose limbs all 
develope and grow stronger at the same time. Further, each 
limb performs several operations. The feet, for instance, 
not only support a man but also move him forwards and 
backwards in various ways. The mouth is not only the 
entrance to the body, but also serves as a masticator and 
as a trumpet that sounds whenever called upon to do so. 
With a single inspiration the lu ngs coo l the heart, purify 
the brain, and assist in voice-productioli. 

42. We find the same thing in the arts: (i) In the 
sun-dial, the single shadow cast by the gnomon points out 
the hour of the day, the sign of the zodiac in which the 
sun is moving, the length of the day and of the night, the 
day of the month, and several other things. (2) One pole 
serves to direct, to turn, and to hold back a carriage. (3) 
A good orator or writer instructs, excites, and pleases at 
the same time, even though his subject may make it diffi- 
cult to combine these three elements. 

43. The instruction of the young should be similarly 
organised, so that every activity may produce several 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 177 

results. It may be laid down as a general rule that each 
subject should be taught in combination with those 
which are correlative to it ; that is to say, words should 
be studied in combination with the things to which they 
refer; while reading and writing, exercises in style ^nd 
in logical thought, teaching and learning, amusement and 
serious study, should be continually joined together. 
I 44. Words, therefore, should always be taught and 
learned in combination with things, just as wine is bought 
[ and sold together with the cask that contains it, a dagger 
with its sheath, a tree with its bark, and fruit with its skin. 
For what are words but the husks and coverings of things ? 
Therefore, when instruction is given in any language, even 
in the mother-tongue itself, the words must be explained 
by reference to the objects that they denote ; and contrari- 
wise, the scholars must be taught to express in language 
whatever they see, hear, handle, or taste, so that their 
command of language, as it progresses, may ever ruiv^' 
parallel to the growth of the understanding. / 

The rule shall therefore run as follows : 

The scholar should be trained to express everything 
that he sees in words, and should be taught the meaning 
of all the words that he uses. No one should be allowed 
to talk about anything that he does not understand, or to 
understand anything without at the same time being able 
to express his knowledge in words. For he who cannot 
express the thoughts of his mind resembles a statue, and 
he who chatters, without understanding what he says, 
resembles a parrot. . 

But we wish to train up men, and to do so as quicklyX 
as possible, and this end can only be attained when ] 
instruction in language goes hand in hand with instruction/ 
in facts. 

45. From this it follows that we ought to exclude from 
our schools all books that merely teach words and do not 
at the same time lead to a knowledge of useful objects. 
We must bestow our labour on that which is of real 
importance, and, therefore (as Seneca says in his 9th 



178 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

Letter), must devote ourselves to the improvement of our 
understanding rather than to the enlargement of our 
vocabulary. Any reading that is necessary can be got 
through quickly out of school- hours without tedious 
explanations or attempts at imitation ; since the time thus 
spent could be better employed in the study of nature. 

46. Exercises in reading and writing should always be 
combined. Even when scholars are learning their alphabet, 
they should be made to master the letters by writing them ; 
since it is impossible to find a more agreeable method 
or one that will give them a greater incentive to work. 
For, since all children have a natural desire to draw, this 
exercise will give them pleasure, and the imagination will 
be excited by the twofold action of the senses. Later 
on, when they can read with ease, they should be made to 
exercise their powers on subject-matter that would in any 
case have to be learned, that is to say, something calculated 
to give them practical information or to instil morality or 
piety. The same plan may be adopted when they learn to 
read Latin, Greek, or Hebrew. It will be of great advan- 
tage to read and copy the declensions and conjugations 
over and over again, until, by this means, reading, writing, 
the meaning of the words, and the formation of the case- 
endings, have been thoroughly learned. In this case we 
have a fourfold result from a single exercise. A system of 
concentration that is of such vital importance should be 
applied to all branches of study, in order that, as Seneca 
says, what is learned by reading may be given form by 
writing, or that, as St. Augustine says of himself, we may 
write while we make progress and make progress while we 
write. 

47. As a rule, no care is shown in the choice of the 
subjects that are given as exercises in style, and there 
is no connection between the successive subjects. The 
result is that they are exercises in style and nothing else, 
and have very little influence on the reasoning powers ; 
indeed it frequently happens that, after much time and 
study have been devoted to them, they prove absolutely 



CONCISENESS AND RAPIDITY IN TEACHING 179 

worthless and of no use for the business of life. Literary 
taste should therefore be taught by means of the subject- 
matter of the science or art on which the reasoning powers 
of the class are being exercised. The teacher should tell 
his pupils stories about the originators of the subject and 
the times in which they lived, or should give them exer- 
cises in imitation based on the subject-matter, so that, by a 
single effort, notions of style may be imbibed, the reasoning 
powers may be improved, and, since either the teacher or 
the pupils are continually talking, the faculty of speech 
also may be exercised. 

48. Towards the end of the i8th chapter I have shown 
that it is possible for the scholars to give instruction in the 
subject that they have just learned, and, since this process 
not only makes them thorough but also enables them toi 
make progress more rapidly, it should not be overlooked/ 
in this connection. 

49. Finally, it will be of immense use, if the amuse- 
ments that are provided to relax the strain on the minds of 
the scholars be of such a kind as to lay stress on the more I 
serious side of life, in order that a definite impression mayH 
be made on them even in their hours of recreation. Forf 
instance, they may be given tools, and allowed to imitafeT 
the different handicrafts, by playing at farming, at politics, 
at being soldiers or architects, etc. In spring they may be 
taken into the garden or into the country, and may be 
taught the various species of plants, vying with one another 
to see who can recognise the greater number. In this 
way they will be introduced to the rudiments of medicine, 
and not only will it be evident which of them has a natural 
bent towards that science, but in many the inclination will 
be created. Further, in order to encourage them, the mock 
titles of doctor, licentiate, or student of medicine may be 
given to those who make the greatest progress. The same 
plan may be adopted in other kinds of recreation. In the 
game of war the scholars may become field -marshals, 
generals, captains, or standard-bearers. In that of politics 
they may be kings, ministers, chancellors, secretaries, 



i8o THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

ambassadors, etc., and, on the same principle, consuls, 
senators, lawyers, or officials ; since such pleasantries often 
lead to serious things. Thus would be fulfilled Luther's 
wish that the studies of the young at school could be so 
organised that the scholars might take as much pleasure 
in them as in playing at ball all day, and thus for the first 
time would schools be a real prelude to practical life. 

Seventh Problem 

How are the subjects of study to be progressively graded ? 

50. How this can be done, we have seen in the sth, 
6th, 7th and Sth Principles of the i6th chapter, and in the 
Sth, 6th and 7th Principles of the i8th chapter. The 
important point is that suitable books should be written 
for the classical schools, and that these should embody 
hints to the teacher for their proper- use, so that learning, 
morality, and piety may be led from one stage to another 
until they reach the highest. 

Eighth Problem 

Of the removal and avoidance of obstructions. 

51. Truly has it been said, that nothing is more useless 
I than to learn and to know much, if such knowledge be of 
I no avail for practical purposes ; and again, that not he 

who knows much is wise, but he who knows what is useful. 
The task of schools will therefore be rendered easier if the 
subjects taught be curtailed. This can be done if omission 
be made 

(i.) Of all unnecessary matter. 

(ii.) Of all unsuitable matter. 

(iii.) Of all minute detail. 

52. Anything is unnecessary that is productive neither 
of piety nor of morality, and that is not essential for the 
cultivation of the mind. Such are the names of heathen 
deities, the myths connected with them, and the religious 
observances of the ancients, as well as the productions of 



CONCISENESS AND SAPIDITY IN TEACHING i8i 

scurrilous and indecent poets and dramatists. It may 
occasionally be necessary for the individual to read these 
things in private, but in the schools, where the founda- 
tions of wisdom should be laid, nothing of the kind should 
be permitted. "What madness it is," says Seneca, "to 
learn so much trash, when time is so precious." Nothing, 
therefore, should be learned solely for its value at school, 
but for its use in life, that the information which a scholar 
has acquired may not vanish as soon as he leaves school. 

53. Knowledge is unsuitable when it is uncongenial to 
the mind of this or that scholar. For there is as great a 
difference between the minds of men as exists between the 
various kinds of plants, of trees, or of animals ; one must 
be treated in one way, and another in another, and the 
same method cannot be applied to all alike. It is true 
that there are men of great mental power who can compass 
every subject; but there are also many who find the greatest 
difficulty in mastering the rudiments of some things. Some 
display great ability for abstract science, but have as little 
aptitude for practical studies as an ass has for playing on 
the lyre. Others can learn everything but music, while 
others again are unable to master mathematics, poetry, or 
logic. What should be done in these cases? If we 
attempt to counteract a natural disinclination we are 
fighting against nature, and such effort is useless. For 
there will be either no result or one totally incommen- 
surate with the energy expended. The teacher is then 
servant and not the lord of nature; his mission is to, 
cultivate and not to transform, and therefore he should 
• never alle Tnpt"To" tbrce a scholar to study any subject if he 
see that it is uncongenial to his natural disposition ; since 
it is more than probable that what is lacking in one direc- 
tion will be compensated for in another. If one branch 
be cut off a tree, the others become stronger, because 
more vitality flows into them ; and if none of the scholars 
be forced to study any subject against his will, we shall 
find no cases in which disgust is produced and the intelli- 
gence is blunted. Each one will develope in the direction 



i82 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

of his natural inclinations (in accordance with the Divine 
will), and will serve God and man in his station in life, 
whatever that may be. 

54. In the same way, if all minute and technical details 
(such as the species of plants and of animals, the various 
callings of mechanics, the names of all their tools and so 
forth) had to be learned, this would be a most wearisome 
and confusing task. In school-work it is sufficient if the 
wide classes that exist in nature, with their most important 
and most essential divisions, be made thoroughly clear. 
More specialised knowledge can easily be acquired later, as 
the opportunity arises. 

Those who wish to win a speedy victory over the enemy, 
do not waste time in storming unimportant places, but go 
straight to the head-quarters of the war ; since it is certain 
that, if they can get the upper hand in a pitched battle, 
and capture the most important strongholds, all the others 
will surrender of their own accord. In the same way, if 
the principal points of any subject be mastered, the sub- 
sidiary details will be acquired with great ease. To this 
class of obstructions belong the voluminous dictionaries 
that contain every word in a language. For, since the 
greater number of them are never used, why should we 
force boys to learn them all, and thus overburden the 
memory ? 

We have now treated of the saving of time and effort in 
teaching and in learning. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE METHOD OF THE SCIENCES, SPECIFICALLY 

I. We must now collect together the scattered obser- 
vations that we have made on the proper teaching of the 
sciences, of the arts, of morality, and of piety. B y prnpei- j 
teac hing Imean teaching that combines ease, thorough- 1 

2. Science, or the knowledge of nature, consists of an 
internal perception, and needs the same accessories as the 
external perception of the eye, namely, an object to ob- 
serve, and light by which to observe it. If these be given, 
perception will follow. The eye of the inner perception is 
the mind or the understanding, the object is all that lies 
within or without our apprehension, while the light is the 
necessary attention. But, as in the case of external per- 
ception a definite procedure is necessary in order to appre- 
hend things as they are, so with internal perception a 
certain method is necessary if things are to be presented 
to the mind in such a way that it can grasp them and 
assimilate them with ease. 

3. The youth who wishes to penetrate the mysteries of 
the sciences must carefully observe four rules : 

(i.) He must keep the eye of his mind pure, 

(ii.) He must see that the object be brought near 
to it. 

(iii.) He must pay attention. 

(iv.) He must proceed from one object to another in 

183 



) 



i84 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

accordance with a suitable method. For thus he will 
apprehend everything surely and easily. 

4. Over the amount of ability that we possess we have 
no control, for God has portioned out this mirror of the 
understanding, this inner eye, according to His will. But 
it lies in our power to prevent it from growing dusty or 
dim. By dust, I mean the idle, useless, and empty occu- 
pations of the mind. For our mind is in constant activity, , 
like a continually running mill-stone, and is supplied by its 
servants, the external senses, with material from every side. 
But unless the chief inspector, the reason, be continually 
on the watch, worthless material is supplied, such as chaff, 
straw, or sand, instead of corn or wheat. Thus it comes to 
pass that, as in the case of a mill, every corner is filled with 
dust. This inner mill, therefore, the mind (which is also 
a mirror) will be kept free from dust, if the young be kept 
away from worthless occupations and be skilfully trained 
to like worthy and useful things. 

5. In order that the mirror may duly receive the images 
of the objects, it is necessary that these latter be solid and 
visible, and be also placed suitably before the eyes. 
Clouds and similar objects that possess little consistency 
make but a slight impression on a mirror, while objects 

I that are not present make none at all. Those things, 
1 therefore, that are placed before the intelligence of the 
i young, must be real things and not the shadows of things. 
■ I repeat , t hey must he ikin£s ; a nd by the term I mean 
jetermmate, real, and useful things that can make an 



oression on the senses and on the imag inafinr i , Kni- thpy 
'can only make this impression when" brought sufHciently 
near. 
f 6. From this a golden rule for teachers may be derived. 
1 Everything should, as far as is possible, be placed before 
\^the senses. Everything visible should be brought beforA 
the organ of sight, everything audible before that of hear-' 
ing. Odours should be placed before the sense of smell, 
and things ' that are tastable and tangible before the sense 
of taste and of touch respectively. If an object can make 



METHOD OF THE SCIENCES, SPECIFICALLY 185 

an impression on several senses at once, it should be 
'ErongEt~Tnto>ienta€t- wit h heve ia l, ll itrt^jnrithrthe limita- 
tioBsjSL5ESgi3Z5^~'the"sevenWTrinciple of cHag^^^" "~ 

7. For this there aire" three cogent "Teasons. Firstly, 
the commencement of knowledge must always come from 
the senses (for the understanding possesses nothing that it 
has not first derived from the senses). Surely, then, the 
■beginning of wisdom should consist, not in the rn^-e learn- 
ing the names of things, but in the actual p^ception of- 
the things themselves ! It is when the thin g has-been 
graspgd- by-t he senses that language should fulfil its fiinc- 
ti on of explaining it stiU lurther. " '" ' 

~ 8. -tiecondly, the truth 'arid certainty of science depend 
more on the witness of the senses than on anything else. 
For things impress themselves directly on the senses, but 
on the understanding only mediately and through the 
senses. This is evident from the fact that belief is at 
once accorded to knowledge derived from the senses, while 
an appeal is always made to them from a priori reasoning 
and from the testimony of others. We do not trust 
a conclusion derived from reasoning unless it can be veri- 
fied by a display of examples (the trustworthiness of which 
depends on sensuous perception). No one could have 
such confidence in the testimony of another person as 
to disbelieve the experience of his own senses. Science, 
then, increases in certainty in proportion as it depends 
on sensuous perception. It follows, therefore, that if we 
wish to implant a true and certain knowledge of things 
in our pupils, we must take especial care that everything 
be learned by means of actual observation and sensuous 
perception. 

9. Thirdly, since the senses are the most trusty servants 
of the memory, this method ,of sensuous perception, if 
universally applied, will lead to Jhe permanent retentinn-o f 
Kin w]pclgf _ t hat has once been acq uirea. Jor mstance, if 
Ihave oncelasted sugar, seen a camel, heard a nightingale 
sing, or been in Rome, and have on each occasion atten- 
tively impressed 'the fact on my. memory, the incidents will 



1 86 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

remain fresh and permanent. We find, accordingly, that 
children can easily learn Scriptural and secular stories 
from pictures. Indeed, he who has once seen a rhinoceros 
(even in a picture) or been present at a certain occurrence, 
can picture the animal to himself and retain the event in 
his memory with greater ease than if they had been de- 
scribed to him six hundred times. Hence the saying of 
Plautus : " An eye-witness is worth more than ten ear- 
witnesses." Horace also says : "What is entrusted to the 
fickle ears makes less impression on the mind than things 
which are actually presented to the eyes and which the 
spectator stores up for himself." 

In the same manner, whoever has once seen a dissection 
of the human body will understand and remember the 
relative position of its parts with far greater certainty than 
if he had read the most exhaustive treatises on anatomy, 
but had never actually seen a dissection performed. Hence 
the saying, "Seeing is believing." 

lo. If the objects themselves cannot be procured, 
representations of them may be used. Copies or models 
may be constructed for teaching purposes, and the same 
principle may be adopted by botanists, geometricians, 
zoologists, and geographers, who should illustrate their 
descriptions by engravings of the objects described. The 
same thing should be done in books on physics and else- 
where. For example, the human body will be well ex- 
plained by ocular demonstration if the following plan be 
adopted. -A skeleton should be procured (either such an 
one as is usually kept in universities, or one made of wood), 
and on this framework should be placed the muscles, 
sinews, nerves, veins, arteries, as well as the intestines, the 
lungs, the heart, the diaphragm, and the liver. These 
should be made of leather and stuffed with wool, and 
should be of the right size and in the right place, while on 
each organ should be written its name and its function. 
If you take the student of medicine to this construction 
and explain each part to him separately, he will grasp all 
the details without any effort, and from that time forth will 



METHOD OF THE SCIENCES, SPECIFICALLY 187 

understand the mechanism of his own body. For every 
branch of knowledge similar constructions (that is to say, 
images of things which cannot be procured in the original) 
should be made, and should be kept in the schools ready for 
use. It is true that expense and labour will be necessary 
to produce these models, but the result will amply reward 
the effort. 

11. If any be uncertain if all things can be placed 
before the senses in this way, even things spiritual and 
things absent (things in heaven, or in hell, or beyond the 
sea), let him remember that all things have been harmoniously 
arranged by God in such a manner that the higher in the 
scale of existence can be represented by the lower, the 
absent by the present, and the invisible by the visible. 
This can be seen in the Macroviicrocosmus of Robert 
Flutt,^" in which the origin of the winds, of rain, and of 
thunder is described in such a way that the reader can 
visualise it. Nor is there any doubt that even greater 
concreteness and ease of demonstration than is here dis- 
played might be attained. 

12. So much of the presentation of objects to the 
senses. We must now speak of the light, the absence of 
which renders the presentation of objects to the feyes use- 
less. This light of the teaching art is attention, and by 
its means the learner can keep his mind from wandering 
and can take in everything that is put before him. It is 
impossible for any man to see an object in the dark, or 
if his eyes be closed, no matter how near to him it may be ; 
and in the same way, if you talk to one who is not attend- 
ing, or show him anything, you will make no impression on 
his senses. This we can observe in the case of those who, 
while lost in thought, do not notice what is going on before 
their eyes. He, therefore, who wishes to show anything 
to another at night must provide light, and must polish the 
object so that it shines ; and in the same way a master, if 
he wish to illumine with knowledge a pupil shrouded in 
the darkness of ignorance, must first excite his attention, 
that he may drink in information with a greedy mind. 



1 88 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

How this can be done we have shown in the 17 th chapter, 
and in the first Principle of the 1 9th chapter. 

13. So much of the light. We will now speak of the 
mode in which objects must be presented to the senses, 
if the impression is to be distinct. This can be readily 
understood if we consider the processes of actual vision. 
If the object is to be clearly seen it is necessary: (i) 
that it be placed before the eyes ; (2) not far oflF, but at a 
reasonable distance ; (3) not on one side, but straight 
before the eyes ; (4) and so that the front of the object be 
not turned away from, but directed towards, the observer ; 
(5) that the eyes first take in the object as a whole ; (6) 
and then proceed to distinguish the parts; (7) inspecting 
these in order from the beginning to the end ; (8) that 
attention be paid to each and every part ; (9) until they 
are all grasped by means of their essential attributes. 
If these requisites be properly observed, vision takes place 
successfully ; but if one be neglected its success is only 
partial. 

14. For instance, if any one wish to read a letter that 
has been sent him by a friend, it is necessary: (i) that it 
be presented to the eyes (for if it be not seen, how can it 
be read ?) ; (2) that it be placed at a suitable distance 
from the eyes (for if it be too far off, the words cannot be 
distinguished) ; (3) that it be directly in front of the eyes 
(for if it be on one side, it will be confusedly seen) ; (4) 
that it be turned the right way up (for if a letter or a book 
be presented to the eyes upside down or on its side, it can- 
not be read) ; (5) the general characteristics of the letter, 
such as the address, the writer, and the date must be seen 
first (for unless these facts be known, the particular items 
of the letter cannot be properly understood) ; (6) then the 
remainder of the letter must be read, that nothing be 
omitted (otherwise the contents will not all be known, and 
perhaps the most important point will be missed); (7) it 
must be read in the right order (if one sentence be read 
here and another there, the sense will be confused); (8) 
each sentence must be mastered before the next is com- 



METHOD OF THE SCIENCES, SPECIFICALLY 189 

menced (for if the whole be read hurriedly, some useful 
point may easily escape the mind) ; (9) finally, when the 
whole has been carefully perused, the reader may proceed 
to distinguish between those points that are necessary and 
those that are superfluous. 

15. These points should be observed by those who 
teach the sciences, and may be expressed in nine very use- 
ful precepts. 

(i.) Whatever is to be known must be taught. 

Unless that which is to be known be placed before a 
pupil, how is he to acquire a knowledge of it ? Therefore 
let those who teach beware of concealing anything from 
their pupils, whether of intent, as do the envious and dis- 
honest, or through carelessness, as is the case with those 
who perform their duties in a perfunctory manner. The 
two things necessary are honesty and hard work. 

16. (ii.) Whatever is taught should be taught as being of 
practical application in every-day life and of some definite 
use. 

That is to say, the pupil should understand that what 
he learns is not taken out of some Utopia or borrowed 
from Platonic Ideas, but is one of the facts which surround 
us, and that a fitting acquaintance with it will be of great 
service in life. In this way his energy and his accuracy 
will be increased. 

17. (iii.) Whatever is taught should be taught straight- 
forwardly, and not in a complicated manner. 

This means that we must look straight at objects and 
not squint, for in that case the eyes do not see that at 
which they look, but rather distort and confuse it. Objects 
should be placed before the eyes of the student in their true 
character, and not shrouded in words, metaphors, or hyper- 
boles. These devices have their use if the object be to 
exaggerate or to detract from, to praise or to blame what is 
already known. But when knowledge is being acquired 
they should be avoided and the facts should be set forth 
plainly. 

1 8. (iv.) Whatever is taught must be taught with reference 



« 



igo THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

( ^ 

to its true nature and its origin ; that is to say, through its 
causes. 

This method of cognition is the best if the true nature 
of a fact is to be learned. For if its true nature be not 
made evident, this is not cognition but error. The tru^ 
nature of a fact lies in the process that brought it int(4 
being. If it appear to contain elements not accounted fori 
by that process, it is evident that there is some mis- 
apprehension. Now everything is brought into existence 
by its causes. Therefore to explain the causes of anything 
is equivalent to making a true exposition of that thing's 
nature, in accordance with the principles : " Knowledge 
consists in having a firm grip of causes," and " Causes 
are the guides of the understanding." Objects can thus 
be best, easiest, and most certainly cognised through a 
knowledge of the processes that produced them. If a 
man wish to read a letter he holds it as it was written, 
since it is a difficult thing to read a document that is 
inverted, or on its side, and in the same way, if a fact be 
explained by means of the process that gave it birth, it will 
be easily and surely understood. If, however, the teacher 
reverse the order of nature, he is certain to confuse the 
student. Therefore, the method employed in teaching 
should be based on the method of nature. That which 
precedes should be taken first, and that which follows last. 

19. (v.) If anything is to be learned, its general principles 
must first be explained. Its details may then be considered, 
and not till then. 

The reasons for this have been given in chap. xvi. 
Principle 6. We give a general notion of an object when 
we explain it by means of its essential nature and its 
accidental qualities. The essential nature is unfolded by 
the questions what? of what kind 1 and why 1 Under the 
question what? are included the name, the genus, the 
function, and the end. Under the question of what kind? 
comes the form of the object, or the mode in which it is 
fitted to its end. Under the question why ? the efficient 
or causal force by which an object is made suitable to its 



METHOD OF THE SCIENCES, SPECIFICALLY 191 

end. For example, did I wish to give a student a general 
notion of a man, I should say : Man is (i) the chief 
creation of God, and destined for dominion over other 
creatures ; (2) endowed with freedom of choice and action ; 
(3) and on that account provided with the light of reason, 
that he may direct his choice and his actions with wisdom. 
This is but a general notion of man, but it goes to the root 
of the matter and says everything about him that is 
essential. To these you may, if you like, add some of his 
accidental qualities, still keeping to generalities, and this 
must be done by asking the questions : from what origin ? 
whence ? when ? You may then proceed to his parts, the 
body and the soul. The nature of the body can be demon- 
strated through the anatomy of its organs ; that of the soul 
by examining the faculties of which it consists. All these 
points must be taken in their proper order. 

20. (vi.) All the parts of an object, even the smallest, and 
without a single exception, must be learned with reference 
to their order, their position, and their connection with one 
another. 

Nothing exists in vain, and sometimes the strength of 
the larger parts depends on that of the smallest. Certain 
it is that in a clock, if one pin be broken or bent, or 
moved out of its place, the whole machine will stop. 
Similarly, in a living body, the loss of one organ may cause 
life to cease, and in a sentence it is often on the smallest 
words, such as prepositions and conjunctions, that the 
whole sense depends. Perfect knowledge of an object can 
therefore only be attained by acquiring a knowledge of the 
nature and function of each of its parts. 

21. (vii.) All things must be taught in due succession, 
and not more than one thing should be taught at one 
time. 

The organ of vision is unable to take in two or three 
objects at one time (certain it is that he who reads a book 
cannot look at two pages at once, nay, cannot even see two 
lines, though they lie quite close together, nor two words, 
nor two letters, otherwise than successively); and in the 



192 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

same way the mind can only grasp one thing at a time. 
We should therefore make a distinct break in our progress 
from one thing to another, that we may not overburden 
the mind. 

2 2. (viii.) We should not leave any subject until it is 
thoroughly understood. 

Nothing can be done in a moment. For every process 
involves motion, and motion implies successive stages. 
The pupil should therefore not pass on from any point in 
a science until he has thoroughly mastered it and is 
conscious that he has done so. The methods to be em- 
ployed are emphatic teaching, examination, and iteration, 
until the desired result is attained. This we have pointed 
out in chap, xviii. Principle lo. 

23. (ix.) Stress should be laid on the differences which 
exist between things, in order that what knowledge of 
them is acquired may be clear and distinct. 

Much meaning lies concealed in that celebrated saying : 
" He who distinguishes well is a good teacher." For too 
many facts overwhelm a student, and too great a variety 
confuses him. Remedies must therefore be applied : in 
the first case order, by means of which one thing may 
be taken after another ; in the second, a careful considera- 
tion of the differences that exist in nature, that it may 
always be evident in what respects one thing differs from 
another. This is the only method that can give distinct, 
clear, and certain knowledge ; since the variety and actuality 
of natural objects depend on their distinctive attributes, 
as we have hinted in chap, xviii. Principle 6. 

24. Now it is impossible that all teachers, when they 
enter on their profession, should be possessed of the re- 
quisite skill, and it is therefore necessary that the sciences 
which are taught in schools be mapped out in accordance 
with the foregoing laws. If this be done it will be difificult 
for any teacher to miss his mark. For, if the laws be 
rigorously observed, it is beyond question that any man who 
is once admitted into the royal palace and is allotted a 
certain space of time can easily and without any trouble 



METHOD OF THE SCIENCES, SPECIFICALLY 193 

master its whole contents, its pictures, statues, carpets, 
and other ornaments ; and just as easy will it be for a 
youth who is admitted to the theatre of this world to 
penetrate with his mental vision the secrets of nature, and 
from that time forward to move among the works of God 
and of man with his eyes opened. 



13 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE METHOD OF THE ARTS 

I. "Theory," says Vives, "is easy and short, but has no 
result other than the gratification that it affords. Practice, 
on the other hand, is difficult and prolix, but is of 
immense utility." Since this is so, we should diljgently 
seek out a method by which the young may be easily led 
to the practical application of natural forces, which is to be 
found in the arts. 

2. Art primarily requires three things : (i) A model or 
a conception ; that is to say, an external form which the 
artist may examine and 'then, try to imitate. (2) The 
material on which the new form is to be impressed. (3) The 
instruments by the aid of which the work is accomplished. 

3. But when the instruments, the materials, and the 
model have been provided, three more things are necessary 
before we can learn an art: ;(i) a proper use of the 
materials ; (2) skilled guidance ; (3) frequent practice. 
That is to say, the pupil should be taught when and how 
to use his materials ; he should be given assistance when 
using them that he may not make mistakes, or that he may 
be corrected if he do ; and he should not leave off making 
mistakes and being corrected until he can work" correctly 
and quickly. 

4. With respect to these points eleven canons must be 
observed : six on the use of materials ; three on guidance ; 
and two on practice. 

f 5. (i.) What has to be done must be learned by practice. 
I 194 



( 



THE METHOD OF THE ARTS '7^ ^(^ 

Artisans ito not detain their apprentices with theories, but 
set them to do practical work at an early stage ; thus they 
learn Ao forge by forg ing, tQ r,c|p7a-l;^y ^a^yjng^ t o paint bsL 
painting, and to bailee by dancing. In schools, therefore, 
let thrstudentrleaFn to write"T)y writing, to talk by talking,' 
to sing by singing, and to reason by reasoning. I n thi s 
way schools will become w orksh ops humming with wor \ 
knd students whose efloTls ^I'U'VU sLJccessAil wii rexggl^Sg 
t he tru t h ot th e proverb ; " We give form foOTLrselvesand 
to our materials, at the same time." 

6. (ii.) A definite model of that which has to be made 
must always be provided. 

This the student should first examine, and then imitate, 
as though' he were following in the footsteps of a guide. \ 
For he who neither knows what has to be done nor how 1 
to do it, is unable to produce anything of himself, but must 
have a model placed before him. Indeed it is sheer cruelty 
to force any one to do what you wish, while he is ignorant , 
what your wishes are ; to demand, that is to say, that he 
form straight lines, right angles, or perfect circles, unless 
you first give him a ruler, a square, and a pair of compasses, 
and explain their use to him. Further, great care should 
be taken to provide in the school-room formulae for or 
models of everything that has to be made, and these, 
whether drawings and diagrams, or rules and models, 
should be correct, definite, and simple; easy both to 
understand and to imitate. There will then be no 
absurdity in demanding of a man that he see, when 
provided with a light ; that he walk, when he already 
stands on his feet ; or that he use the tools that are already 
in his hands. . 

7. (iii.) The use of instruments should be shown in 
practice and not by words; that is to say, by example 
rather than by precept. 

It is many years since Quintilian said: "Through 
precepts the way is long and difficult, while through 
examples it is short and practicable." But alas, how little 
heed the ordinary schools pay to this advice. The very 



196 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

beginners in grammar are so overwhelmed by precepts, 
rules, exceptions to the rules, and exceptions to the ex- 
ceptions, that for the most part they do not know what 
they are doing, and are quite stupefied before they begin 
to understand anything. Mechanics do not begin by 
drumming rules into their apprentices. They take them 
into the workshop and bid them look at the work that has 
been produced, and then, when they wish to imitate this 
(for man is an imitative animal), they place tools in their 
hands and show them how they should be held and used. 
Then, if they make mistakes, they give them advice and 
correct them, often more by example than by mere words, 
and, as the facts show, the novices easily succeed in their 
imitation. For there is great truth in that saying of 
the Germans, "A good leader finds a good follower." 
Very apposite, too, is the remark of Terence, " Do you go 
before ; I will follow." This is the way, namely, by 
imitating, and without any laborious rules, that children 
learn to walk, to run, to talk, and to play. Rules are like 
thorns to the understanding, and to grasp their meaning 
needs both attention and ability, while even the dullest 
students are aided by example. No one has ever mastered 
any language or art by precept alone ; while by practice 
this is possible, even without precept. 

8. (iv.) Practice should commence with the rudiments 
and not with ambitious works. 

A carpenter does not begin by teaching his apprentice 
to build turrets, but first shows him how to hold the axe, 
to cut down trees, to shape planks, to bore holes, and to 
fasten beams together. A painter does not make his 
pupil commence by painting portraits, but teaches him 
how to mix colours, to hold the brush, and to make lines ; 
then to attempt rough outlines, and so on. He who 
teaches a boy how to read explains to him, not the contents 
of the book, but the names and nature of the letters, and 
shows him how they can be joined together into syllables ; 
then he proceeds to words, and then to sentences. In the 
same way the beginner in grammar should learn, first how 



THE METHOD OF THE ARTS 197 

to inflect single words, then how to join two together. 
Then he may advance to simple and compound sentences, 
and so on till he reach continuous prose. So too in 
dialectic. The student should first learn to distinguish 
things and the concepts of things by means of their genera 
and species ; then to classify them afresh, with respect to 
some other common quality (for such links exist between 
all things) ; then to define and distribute them ; then to 
estimate the value of the things and their concepts in 
combination, seeking out the what? the whence? and the 
why ? and whether it be necessary or contingent. When 
he has had sufficient practice in this, he may proceed to 
ratiocination and seek how to draw conclusions from given 
premises, and finally he may essay discursive reasoning or 
the complete conduct of disputations. The same course 
may with advantage be followed in rhetoric. The student 
should first devote some time to the collection of synonyms, 
and may then learn to add epithets to nouns, verbs, and 
adverbs. He may then proceed to the use of antithesis, 
and later on to that of periphrasis. Then he may substitute 
figurative words for the originals, alter the order of the 
words for the sake of euphony, and adorn a simple sentence 
with all the figures of speech. Finally, when thoroughly 
versed in all these several points, and not sooner, he may 
proceed to the composition of a complete discourse. If 
any one advance step by step in any art, as here indicated, 
it is impossible that he should not make progress. 

The basis of the foregoing was discussed in chap. xvii. 
Principle 4. 

9. (v.) Beginners should at first practise on a material 
that is familiar to them. 

This rule we obtain from the 9th Principle of the 17th 
chapter, and from the 6th Corollary of the 4th Principle. 
Its meaning is that students should not be overburdened 
with matters that are unsuitable to their age, compre- 
hension, and present condition, since otherwise they will 
spend their time in wrestling with shadows. For example, 
when a Polish boy is learning to read or to write his letters 



198 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

he should not be taught to do so from a book written in 
Latin, Greek, or Arabic, but from one written in his own 
language, that he may understand what he is doing. Again, 
if a boy is to understand the use of the rules of rhetoric, 
the examples on which he is made to practise them should 
not be taken from Virgil or from Cicero, or from theological, 
political, or medical writers, but should refer to the objects 
that surround him, to his books, to his clothes, to trees, 
houses, and schools. It will also be of use if the examples 
that are taken to illustrate the first rule be retained, 
although familiar, to illustrate the remainder. In dialectic, 
for example, a tree may be taken, and its genus, its species, 
its relations to other objects, its characteristic peculiarities 
and the logical definition and distribution of the term may 
be treated of. We may then proceed to the various ways 
in which a statement may be made about a tree. Finally, 
we may show how, by a perfect train of reasoning, and by 
taking the facts already ascertained as our starting-point, 
we may discover and demonstrate other properties of a 
tree. In this way, if, in each case, the use of the rules be 
illustrated by the same familiar example, the boy will easily 
master their application to all other subjects. 

I o. (vi.) At first the prescribed form should be imitated 
with exactness. Later on more freedom may be allowed. 

A form will be expressed with more exactness in propor- 
tion as care is taken to make it resemble its original. Thus 
coins that are struck by one die are exactly like the die and 
one another. So also with books printed from metal type, 
and with casts made in wax, plaster, or metal. In all other 
artistic operations, therefore, as far as is possible, any 
imitation (at any rate the first) should be an exact copy of 
its original, until the hand, the mind, and the tongue 
gain more confidence, and can produce good imitations by 
working freely on their own lines. For instance, those who 
learn writing take a thin and transparent sheet of paper, 
place it over the copy that they wish to imitate, and thus 
can easily form the letters that show through. Or the 
characters may he printed very faintly on a white page, so 



THE METHOD OF THE ARTS 199 

that the pupil may go over them with pen and ink, and in 
this way may easily acquire the habit of shaping them. 
The same thing holds good in style, if any construction or 
sentence extracted from a classic writer have to be imitated. 
If the original phrase be "Rich in possessions," the boy 
should be made to imitate it by saying, " Rich in coins," 
" Rich in moneys," " Rich in flocks," " Rich in vineyards." 
When Cicero says, " In the opinion of the most learned 
men, Eudemus easily holds the first place in astrology," 
this may be copied with very little alteration as " In the 
opinion of the greatest orators, Cicero easily holds the first 
place in eloquence," " In the opinion of the whole Church, 
St. Paul easily holds the first place in Apostleship." So 
too in logic, if the well-known dilemma be given : It is 
either day or night. But it is night ; therefore it is not 
day ; the boy may learn to imitate it by similarly opposing 
contradictory conceptions to one another. As, " He is 
either unlearned or learned. But he is unlearned ; there- 
fore he is not learned " ; " Cain was either pious or impious, 
but he was not pious " ; and so on. 

1 1, (vii.) The models of the objects that have to be 
produced must be as perfect as is possible, so that if 
any one exercise himself sufficiently in imitating them it 
will be possible for him to become perfect in his art. 

It is impossible to draw straight lines with a curved 
ruler, and in the same way a good copy cannot be made 
from a bad model. Great care should therefore be taken 
that models be prepared of everything that is to be done 
in school, or indeed in life, and that these be exact, 
simple, and easy to imitate. They may be either models, 
pictures and drawings, or precepts and rules ; but all must 
be very short, very clear, self-evident, and absolutely correct. 

12. (viii.) The first attempt at imitation should be as 
accurate as possible, that not the smallest deviation from 
the model be made. 

That is to say, as far as is possible. For whatever comes 
first is, as it were, the foundation of that which follows. If 
the foundation be firm, a solid edifice can be constructed 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



upon it, but if it be weak this is impossible. According to 
the observations of physicians, the initial defects of digestion 
cannot be repaired later on, and similarly in any operation 
an error at the beginning vitiates all that follows. For this 
reason Timotheus the musician used to demand twice as 
large a fee from those pupils who had learned the rudiments 
of their art elsewhere, saying that his labour was twofold, 
as he had first to get them out of the bad habits that they 
had acquired, and then to teach them correctly. Those, 
therefore, who are learning any art should take care to 
make themselves masters of the rudiments by imitating 
their copies accurately. This difficulty once overcome, 
the rest follows of itself, just as a city lies at the mercy of 
foes when its gates are broken in. All haste should be 
avoided, lest we proceed to advanced work before the 
elementary stages have been mastered. He goes fast 
enough who never quits the road, and a delay which is 
caused by obtaining a thorough grip of first principles is 
really no delay, but an advance towards mastering what 
follows with ease, speed, and accuracy. 

13. (ix.) Errors must be corrected by the master on the 
spot ; but precepts, that is to say the rules, and the excep- 
tions to the rules, must be given at thg,^ametime. >- 

Hitherto we have urged that'tMarts be" tan^ht rather 
by example than by precept : we now add that precepts 
and rules must be given as well, that they may guide the 
operations and prevent error. That is to say, the less 
.•bbvious points of the model should be clearly explained, 
and it should be made evident how the operation should 
begin, what it should aim at, and how that aim can be 
realised. Reasons should also be given for each rule. In 
this way a thorough knowledge of the art, and confidence 
and exactness in imitating, will be attained. 

But these rules should be as short and as simple as 
possible, since we do not want to grow gray while acquir- 
ing them. When once mastered they should be of per- 
petual use, even when laid aside, just as knee-bands are of 
use to a child who is learning to walk, and, though they 



THE METHOD OF THE ARTS 



are afterwards discarded, the advantage derived from them 
remains. 

14. (x.) The perfect teaching of art is based on synthesis 
and analysis. 

We have already shown (chap, xviii. Principle s) by 
examples taken from nature and the workshop that in this 
relation synthesis is more important. The following points 
in addition will show that synthetic exercises should gener- 
ally come first : (i) We should always commence with what 
is easy, and our own efforts are easier to understand than 
those of other people. (2) Writers take pains to conceal 
the artifices by which their results are obtained, so that at 
first the student finds difficulty in understanding what he 
sees, or fails to do so altogether. This difficulty would be 
removed if he began by practising on his own attempts, 
which are void of artifice. (3) The chief thing aimed at 
should be given the chief place in practice, and our real 
aim is to accustom the student of art to produce original 
work, and not merely to copy what is placed before him 
(see chapter xviii. Principle 5). 

15. For all this, the accurate analysis of the work of 
others must not be neglected. It is only by continually 
traversing it that we get to know a road, its by-paths, and 
its cross-roads. Besides, the variety that exists in nature 
is so great that it is impossible for rules to cover it or for 
one mind to master it. Many processes require many 
rules to express them, and these we can only learn if we 
analyse and study, and by imitation and emulation put 
ourselves in a position to produce similar results. 

16. It is our wish then that in each art complete and 
exact models or examples of everything that can be pro- 
duced in that art be supplied to the student. Precepts 
also and rules should be given him to help him to carry 
out the processes, to guide his efforts at imitation, to show 
him how to avoid making faults, and to correct them when 
made. Then other and different models should be given 
him, and these he should learn to classify and compare 
with the models that he has already used, and by copying 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



a model that is like one previously used to produce work 
that resembles the original. After this, the finished works 
of other artists (who must be well known) may be examined 
and analysed in accordance with the models and rules that 
are already familiar. In this way the student will learn to 
employ the rules with greater ease, and will acquire the 
art of concealing his art. Only after a course of exercises 
of this kind will he be in the position to criticise artistic 
productions, whether his own or those of others. 

17. (xi.) These exercises must be continued until 
artistic production becomes second nature. 

For it is practice, and nothing else, that produces an 
artist. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE METHOD OF LANGUAGES 

I. Languages are learned, not as forming in themselves a 
part of erudition or wisdom, but as b ein^ the means by 
which we ma y acq uire knowledge and may impart it toj 
o thers. -«..^--- 

it lollows, therefore, (i) that not all languages should 
be learned, for this would be impossible ; nor many, for this 
would be useless and would waste time that might be 
devoted to the acquisition of practical information ; but 
only those that are necessary. Now necessary languages 
are these : the vernacular, for use at home, and the lan- 
guages of the adjoining countries, for the sake of holding 
intercourse with neighbours. Thus for the Poles, German 
would be necessary ; for others, the Hungarian, Wallachian, 
or Turkish languages. For the reading of serious books 
Latin is also advisable, as ^ it is the common languag e of 
thfe^ learned. For philosophers and physicians, Greek 'and 
Arabic ; and for theologians, Greek and Hebrew. 

2. Not all these languages should be learned thoroughly, 
but only so far as is necessary. 

It is not necessary to speak Greek or Hebrew as' 
fluently as the mother-tongue, since there are no people 
with whom we can converse in those languages. It 
sufi5ces to learn them well enough to be able to read and^ 
understand books written in them. 

3. The study of languages, especially in youth, should 
be joined to that of objects, that our acquaintance with 

203 



204 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

r 

the objective world and with language, that is to say, our 

knowledge of facts and our power to express them, may 

, progress side by side. For it is men th^t we are forming 

and not parrots, as has been said in chap. xix. Principle 6. 

4. From this it follows, firstly, that words should not 
be learned apart from the objects to which they refer ; since 
the objects do not exist separately and cannot be appre- 
hended without words, but both exist and perform their 
functions together. It was this consideration that led me 
to publish \he. /anua Linguarum ; in which words, 'arranged 
in sentences, explain the nature of objects, and, as it is 
said, with no small success. 

5. Secondly, that the complete and detailed knowledge 
of a language, no matter which it be, is quite unnecessary, 
and that it is absurd and useless on the part of any one 
to try to attain it. Not even Cicero (who is considered 
the greatest master of the Latin language) was acquainted 
with all its details, since he confessed that he was ignorant 
of the words used .by artisans ; for he had never mixed with 
cobblers and labourers, so as to see their handiwork and 
hear the technical terms that they used. Indeed what 
object could he have had in learning such terms ? 

6. Those who have expanded my Janua have paid no 
attention to this, but have stuffed it with uncommon 
words and with matter quite unsuited to a boy's com- 
prehension. A Janua should remain a Janua, and 
anything further should be reserved for a future time. 
This is especially the case with words which either never 
occur, or which, if met with, can easily be looked up in 
subsidiary books (such as vocabularies, lexicons, herbaries, 
etc.). It was for this reason that I discontinued my 
Latinitatis Posticum (into which I was introducing obsolete 
and unusual words). 

7. In the third place it follows that the intelligence as 
well as the language of boys should preferably be exercised 
on matters which appeal to them, and that what appeals to 
adults should be left for a later stage. They waste their 
time who place before boys Cicero and other great writers. 



THE METHOD OF LANGUAGES 205 

For, if students do not understand the subject-matter, - 
how can they master the various devices for expressing it 
forcibly ? The time is more usefully spent on less 
ambitious efforts, so devised that the knowledge of the 
language and the general intelligence may advance 
together and step by step. Nature makes no leap, and 
neither does art, since it imitates nature. We must teach 
boys to walk before we give them lessons in dancing ; to 
ride on a hobby-horse before we set them on a charger ; to 
prattle before they speak, and to speak before they deliver 
orations. It was Cicero who said that he could teach no 
one to deliver orations who had not first learned how to talk. 

8. As regards the plurality of tongues, our method, which 
we will reduce to eight rules, will render the acquisition of 
the various languages an easy matter. 

9. (i.) Each language must be learned separately. » 
First of all the mother-tongue must be learned, and then 

the language that may have to be used in its place, I mean 
that of the neighbouring nation (for I am of opinion that 
modern languages should be commenced before the learned 
ones). Then Latin may be learned, and after Latin, Greek, 
Hebrew, etc. 

One language should always be learned after, and not at 
the same time as, another ; since otherwise both will be 
learned confusedly. It is only when they have been 
thoroughly acquired that it is of use to compare them by 
means of parallel grammars, dictionaries, etc. 

10. (ii.) Each language must have a definite space of 
time allotted to it. 

We should take care not to convert a subsidiary study 
into a chief one, or to waste on the acquisition of words 
the time in which we might gain a knowledge of things. 
The mother-tongue, since it is intimately connected with 
the gradual unfolding of the objective world to the senses, 
necessarily requires several years (I should say eight or ten, 
or the whole of childhood, with a part of boyhood). We 
may then proceed to the other modern languages, each of 
which can be sufHciently mastered in one year. Latin can 



206 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

be learned in two years, Greek in one year, and Hebrew in 
six months. 

11. (iii.) All languages are easier to learn by practice 
than from rules. 

That is to say, by hearing, reading, re-reading, copying, 
imitating with hand and tongue, and doing all these as 
frequently as is possible. Cf. the preceding chapter, 
canons i. and xi. 

12. (iv.) But rules assist and strengthen the knowledge 
derived from practice. 

This we have treated of in the previous chapter, canon ii. 
We speak more especially of the learned languages which 
we are compelled to learn from books, though we do not 
exclude modern languages. For Italian, French, German, 
Bohemian, and Hungarian can be, and indeed have already 
been, reduced to rules. 

1 3. (v.) The rules to which languages are reduced should 
be grammatical and not philosophic. 

That is to say, they should not inquire into the causes 
and antecedents of words, phrases, and sentences, or seek 
to find out why this or that construction is necessary, but 
should simply state what is correct and how the construc- 
tions should be made. The subtler investigation into the 
causes and connecting links, the similarities and dissimi- 
larities, the analogies and anomalies that exist in things 
and in words, is the business of the philosopher, and does 
but delay the philologist. 

14. (vi.) In writing rules for the new language the one 
already known must be continually kept in mind, so that 
stress may be laid only on the points in which the languages 
differ. 

To call attention to points that they possess in common 
is not merely useless, but actually harmful, since the mind 
is terrified by the semblance of greater prolixity and 
irregularity than really exist. For instance, in Greek 
grammar there is no need to repeat the definitions of 
nouns, verbs, cases, and tenses, or rules of syntax which 
convey nothing new, and which may be considered as 



THE METHOD OF LANGUAGES 



207 



already familiar. Those only need be included in which 
the usage of Greek dififers from that of Latin, which is 
already known. In this way Greek grammar may be reduced 
to a few pages, and will thus be both clearer and easier. 

15. (vii.) The first exercises in a new language must 
deal with subject-matter that is already familiar. 

Otherwise the mind will have to pay attention to words 
and to things at the same time, and will thus be distracted 
and weakened. Its efforts should therefore be confined to 
words, that it may master them easily and quickly. Such 
subject-matter might very well be the Catechism, or 
Biblical history, or in fact anything that is sufficiently 
familiar. (Being short, my Vestibulum and Janua might 
be used ; though these are more suitable to commit to 
memory, while the subjects suggested above are fit for 
constant reading on account of the constant recurrence of 
the same words, which will thus grow familiar and impress 
themselves on the memory.) 

16. (viii.) All languages, therefore, can be learned by 
the method. 

That is to say, by practice, combined with rules of a 
very simple nature that only refer to points of difference 
with the language already known, and by exercises that 
refer to some familiar subject. 

17. Of the languages that should be learned carefully. 

As we said at the commencement of the chapter, all 
languages need not be learned with equal accuracy. The 
mother-tongue and Latin are the most worthy of attention, 
and we should all master them thoroughly. This course 
of language-study may be divided into four ages — 



The first 




f^ babbling 
infancy. 




indistinctly 


The second 
The third 


. age is 


ripeniilg 
boyhood 

maturer 
youth 


in which 

. we learn • 

to speak 


correctly 
elegantly 


The fourth 




vigorous 
manhood 




forcibly 



208 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

1 8. Gradation of this kind is the only true principle. 
On any other system everything falls into confusion and 

disorder, as we have most of us experienced. But through 
these four grades all who wish to learn languages may pass 
with ease if the proper materials for teaching languages 
have been provided ; that is to say, suitable school-books 
for the pupils and hand-books to assist the teacher, both 
of which should be short and methodical. 

19. The school-books, suited to the several ages, should 
be four in number — 

(i.) The Vestibulum. 
(ii.) Th.e.Ja?iua. 
(iii.) The Palatium. 
(iv.) The Tliesaurics. 

20. The Vestibulum should contain the materials for a 
child's conversation — a few hundred words, arranged in 
sentences, to which are added the declensions of nouns 
and the conjugations of verbs. 

21. Thtjanua should contain all the common words 
in the language, about 8000 in number. These should 
be arranged in short sentences embodying descriptions of 
natural objects. To this there should be subjoined some 
short and clear grammatical rules, giving accurate direc- 
tions for writing, pronouncing, forming, and using the 
words of the language. 

22. The Palatium should contain diverse discourses on 
all matters, expressed in a varied and elegant style, with 
marginal references to the authors from which the several 
phrases are borrowed. At the end there should be given 
rules for altering and paraphrasing sentences in a thousand 
different ways. 

23. The Thesaurus will be the name given to the 
classic writers who have written on any matter with serious 
intent and in a good style, with the addition of rules 
relating to the observation and collection of noteworthy 
passages and to the accurate translation (a most important 
matter) of idioms. Of these authors, some should be 
chosen to read in school ; of others, a catalogue should be 



THE METHOD OF LANGUAGES 209 

formed, so that if any one desire to look up any subject in 
the authors who have written on it, he may be able to find 
out who they are. 

24. By subsidiary books are meant those by whose 
help the school-books may be used with greater speed and 
with more result. 

For the Vestibulum a small vocabulary, both Vernacular- 
Latin and Latin- Vernacular, should be provided. 

For the Janua an etymological Latin- Vernacular dic- 
tionary, giving the simple words, their derivatives, their 
compounds, and the reason for the meanings attached. 

For the Palatium a phraseological dictionary in the 
Vernacular, in Latin (and if necessary in Greek), forming 
a compendium of the various phrases, synonyms, and peri- 
phrases that occur in the Palatium, with references to the 
places where they are to be found. 

Finally, for the completion of the Thesaurus, a compre- 
hensive lexicon (Vernacular-Latin and Latin-Greek) which 
shall embrace, without exception, every point in each 
language. This should be carried out in a scholarly and 
accurate manner, care being taken that fine shades of 
meaning in the several languages be made to correspond, 
and that suitable parallels be found for idioms. For it is 
not probable that there exists any language so poor in 
words, idioms, and proverbs that it could not furnish an 
equivalent for any Latin expression, if judgment were 
used. At any rate, accurate renderings could be devised 
by any one who possessed sufficient skill in imitating, and 
in producing a suitable result from suitable material. ^ 

25. No such comprehensive dictionary has hitherto 
been produced. A Polish Jesuit, G. Cnapius, has, it is 
true, done good service to his countrymen by his work 
entitled A Thesaurus of Polish, Latin, and Greek; but in 
this work there are three defects. Firstly, the collection 
of vernacular words and phrases is incomplete. Secondly, 
he has not observed the order that we suggested above, 
since individual, figurative, and obsolete words are not 
arranged under separate headings, though in this way the 

14 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



peculiarities, the elegances, and the resources of both 
languages equally would be illustrated. For he has given 
a number of Latin renderings for each word and phrase of 
Polish, while according to my plan only one, but that an 
exact equivalent, should be given. In this way, my dic- 
tionary would be of great service to those translating 
books from Latin into the vernacular, and vice versa. 
Thirdly, in Cnapius' Thesaurus there is a great lack of 
method in the arrangement of examples. These should 
not be carelessly heaped together. First, simple illustra- 
tions, drawn from history, should be given, then more 
ambitious ones taken from the orators, then the more 
complex and uncommon usages of poets, and finally the 
uses that are obsolete. 

26. But a detailed account of this comprehensive dic- 
tionary must be left for another time, as must also the 
further particulars of the Vestibulum, Hat Janua, the Pala- 
tium, and the Thesaurus, by means of which languages can 
be acquired with unfailing accuracy. Of these it will 
be fitting to speak when we deal with the several classes in 
detail. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



THE METHOD OF MORALS 



1. So far we have discussed the problem of teaching and 
learning the sciences and the arts with greater readiness. 
We should, however, bear in mind the remark of Seneca 
(Epist. 89): "We ought not to learn these things, but 
rather to have learned them." They are, indeed, nothing 
but a preparation for more important matters, and as he 
says, " our beginnings, and not our completed works." 
What then is our true work ? It is that study of wisdom 
which elevates us and makes us steadfast and noble-minded 
— the study to which we have given the name of morality 
and of piety, and by means of which we are exalted above 
all other creatures, and draw nigh to God Himself. 

2. We must therefore see how this art of instilling true 
virtue and piety may be elaborated on a definite system, 
and introduced into schools, that we may with justice be 
able to call them the " forging-places of humanity." 

3. The art of shaping the morals is based upon the 
following sixteen fundamental rules : 

(i.) All the virtues, without exception, should be im- 
planted in the young. 

For in morality nothing can be omitted without leaving 
a gap. 

4. (ii.) Those virtues which are called cardinal should 
be first instilled ; these are prudence, temperance, fortitude, 
and justice. 

In this way we may ensure that the structure shall not 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



be built up without a foundation, and that the various 
Darts shall form a harmonious whole. 
' 5. (iii.) Prudence must be acquired by receiving good 
instruction, and by learning the real differences that exist 
between things, and the relative^ value of those things. 

I A sound judgment on matters of fact is the true founda- 
tion of all virtue. Well does Vives say : " True wisdom 
consists in having a sound judgment, and in thus arriving 
at the truth. Thus are we prevented from following 
worthless things as if they were of value, or from rejecting 
what is of value as if it were worthless ; from blaming what 
should be praised, and from praising what should be 
blamed. This is the source from which all error arises in 
the human mind, and there is nothing in the life of man 
that is more disastrous than the lack of judgment through 
which a false estimate of facts is made. Sound judg- 
ment," he proceeds, " should be practised in early yo uth, 
and will thus be developed jDJTtKeTime.manhpoiiixeaSjSd. 
A^l3oy"shoulS" seek that which is right and avoid that 
which is worthless, for thus the practice of judging correctly 
will become second nature with him." 

6. (iv.) Boys should be taught to observe temperance in 
eating and in drinking, in sleeping and in waking, in work 
and in play, in talking and in keeping silence, throughout 
the whole period of their instruction. 

In this relation the golden rule, " Nothing in excess," 
should be dinned into their ears, that they may learn on 
all occasions to leave off before satiety sets in. 

7. (v.) Fortitude should be learned by the subduing of 
self; that is to say, by repressing the desire to play at the 
wrong time or beyond the proper time, and by bridling 
impatience, discontent, and anger. 

The principle which underlies this is that we should 
accustom boys to do everything by reason, and nothing 
under the guidance of impulse. For man is a rational 
animal, and should therefore be led by reason, and, before 
action, ought to deliberate how each operation should be 
performed, so that he may really be master of his own 



THE METHOD OF MORALS 213 

actions. Now, since boys are not quite capable of such 
a deliberate and rational mode of procedure, it will be a 
great advance towards teaching them fortitude and self- 
control if they be forced to acquire the habit of performing 
the will of another in preference to their own, that is 
to say, to obey their superiors promptly in everything 
"Those who train horses aright," says Lactantius, "first 
teach them to obey the reins," and he who wishes to 
instruct boys should commence by accustoming them to 
obey his orders. We may indeed cherish a hope that the 
turmoil with which the world is overwhelmed will be 
replaced by a better condition of aifairs, if, in early youth, 
men learn to yield to one another and to be guided by 
reason in all that they do. r 

8. (vi.) The young should learn to practise justice by ^-'-' 
hurting no man, by giving each his due, by avoiding false- 
hood and deceit, and by being obliging and agreeable. 

Boys must be trained to act in this way, as we said 
above, by the method prescribed in the following canons. 

9. (vii.) The kinds of fortitude that are especially 
necessary to the young are frankness and endurance of 
toil. 

For since life must be spent in intercourse with others 
and in action, boys must be taught to look men in the face 
and to meet honest toil without flinching. Otherwise they 
may become recluses and misanthropes, or idlers and 
cumberers of the earth. Virtue is practised by deeds and 
not by words. 

10. (viii.) Frankness is acquire d by constant interci airse 
with w0rthy.-peQEleijind by JaehaxiBg, whilein their presence, 
•TrraccQrdance.jadtbJ;he p recepts that have been given. 
~^ Aristotle educated Alexander" in such a manner that, 
when twelve years of age, he could suit himself to every 
kind of society, to that of kings, of the ambassadors of 
kings and of nations, of learned and unlearned men, of 
townsmen, of countrymen, and of artisans, and could 
ask suitable questions or give suitable answers on any 
subject that arose in conversation. In order that the 



214 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

young who are subjected to our comprehensive scheme of 
education may learn to imitate this, rules for conversation 
should be written, and the practice of them, by daily inter- 
course with tutors, schoolfellows, parents, and servants, 
should be insisted upon ; masters also should take great 
care to correct any tendency to carelessness, forwardness, 
boorishness, or coarseness. 

11. (ix.) Boys will learn to endure toil if they are con- 
tinually occupied, either with work or with play. 

It makes no difference what is done, or why it is done, 
if only the boy be occupied. Much can be learned in 
play that will afterwards be of use when the circumstances 
demand it. It is by working, therefore, that we must learn 
how to work, just as we learn how to act by acting (as we 
saw above) ; and in this way the continued occupations of 
mind and body, in which, at the same time, all over-pressure 
must be avoided, will produce an industrious disposition, 
and make a man so active that sluggish ease will be 
intolerable to him. Then will be seen the truth of Seneca's 
words : " It is toil that nourishes noble minds." 

12. (x.) The cognate virtue of justice, or promptness and 
willingness to serve others, must be diligently cultivated in 
the young. 

The abominable vice of selfishness is inherent in our 
corrupt nature, and through it each man thinks of nothing 
but his own welfare, and troubles his head about no one 
else. This is a great source of confusion in life, since all 
are occupied with their own affairs and neglect the common 
good. The true object of life must therefore be diligently 
instilled into the youth, and they must be taught that we 
are born not for ourselves alone, but for God and for our 
neighbour, that is to say, for the human race. 

Thus they will become seriously persuaded of this truth 
and will learn from their boyhood to imitate God, the 
angels, the sun, and the more noble of things created, 
that is to say, by desiring and striving to be of service 
to as many as possible. Thus will the good fortune of 
private and of public life be assured, since all men will be 



THE METHOD OF MORALS 215 

ready to work together for the common good, and to help 
one another. And they actually will do so if they have 
been properly taught. 

13. (xi.) Virtue must be inculcated at a very early 
stage before vice gets possession of the mind. 

For if you do not sow a field with good seed it will 
produce nothing but weeds of the worst kind. But if you 
wish to subdue it, you will do so more easily and with a 
better hope of success if you plough it, sow it, and harrow 
it in early spring. Indeed, it is of the greatest importance 
that children be well trained in early youth, since a jar 
preserves for a long time the odour with which it has been 
imbued when new. j 

14. (xii.) The virtues are learned by constantly doing 1 
what is right. I 

We have seen in chaps, xx. and xxi. that it is by learnina 
that we find o ut what we ought to learn , and by acting that \ 
we learn t o acT ^swe shoiiid! So then, as boys easily learn ^ 
to walk by walking, to talk by talking, and to write by 
writing, in the same way they will learn obedience by 
obeying, abstinence by abstaining, truth by speaking the 
truth, and constancy by being constant. But it is necessary 
that the child be helped by advice and example at the J 
same time. 

15. (xiii.) Examples of well-ordered lives, in the persons '' 
of their parents, nurses, tutors, and school-fellows, must 
continually be set before children. 

For boys are like apes, and love to imitate whatever 
they see, whether good or bad, even though not bidden 
to do so ; and on this account they learn to imitate before 
they learn to use their minds. By "examples," I mean 
living ones as well as those taken from books; in fact, 
living ones are the more important because they make a 
stronger impression. And therefore, if parents are worthy 
and careful guardians of domestic discipline, and if tutors 
are chosen with the greatest possible care, and are men of 
exceptional virtue, a great advance will have been made 
towards the proper training of the young in morals. 



2i6 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

1 6. (xiv.) But, in addition to examples, precepts and 
rules of conduct must be given. 

In this way imitation will be supplemented and 
strengthened (on this point the reader may refer to our 
remarks in chap. xxi. canon ix.). Rules of life should 
therefore be collected from Holy Scripture and from the 
sayings of wise men, and should deal with questions such 
as : " Why should we strive against envy ? " " With what 
arms should we fortify ourselves against the sorrows and 
the chances of life?" "How should we observe modera- 
tion in joy?" "How should anger be controlled?" "How 
should illicit love be driven out ? " and similar questions, 
according to the age of the pupil. 

17. (xv.) Children must be very carefully guarded from 
bad society, lest they be infected by it. 

For, owing to our corrupt nature, evil clings to us 
readily. The young must therefore be carefully shielded 
from all sources of corruption, such as evil society, evil 
conversation, and worthless books (for examples of vice, 
whether they make their entrance through the eyes or 
through the ears, are poison to the mind). And finally, 
sloth should be guarded against, lest through idleness the 
young be led to evil deeds or contract a tendency to 
indolence. The important thing is that they be kept 
continually employed either with work or with play. Idle- 
ness should never be permitted. 

18. (xvi.) Since it is impossible for us to be so watchful 
that nothing evil can find an entrance, stern discipline is 
necessary to keep evil tendencies in check. 

For our enemy Satan is on the watch not only while 
we sleep, but also while we wake, and as we sow good seed 
in the minds of our pupils he contrives to plant his own 
weeds there as well, and sometimes a corrupt nature brings 
forth weeds of its own accord, so that these evil dispositions 
must be kept in check by force. We must therefore strive 
against them by means of discipline, that is to say, by using 
blame or punishment, words or blows, as the occasion 
demands. This punishment should always be administered 



THE METHOD OF MORALS 217 

on the spot, that the vice may be choked as soon as it 
shows itself, or may be, as far as is possible, torn up byr 
the roots. Discipline, therefore, should ever be watchful, 
not with the view of enforcing application to study (for 
learning is always attractive to the mind, if it be treated 
by the right method), but to e nsure cleanly morals. 

But of discipline we will treat more particularly in chap.' 
xxxi. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE METHOD OF INSTILLING PIETY 

I . Piety is the gift of God, and is given us from on high by 
our counsellor and guide, the Holy Spirit. But, since the 
Holy Spirit usually employs natural agencies, and has chosen 
parents, teachers, and ministers who should faithfully 
plant and water the grafts of Paradise (i Cor. iii. 6-8), it is 
right that these should appreciate the extent of their duties. 

2. We have already explained what we mean by piety, 
namely, that (after we have thoroughly grasped the con- 
ceptions of faith and of religion) our hearts should learn to 
seek God everywhere (since He has concealed Himself with 
His works as with a curtain, and, invisibly present in all 
visible things, directs all, though unseen), and that when 
we have found Him we should follow Him, and when we 
have attained Him should enjoy Him. The first we d^ 
through our understanding, the second through our will, I 
and the third through the joy arising from the consciousy 
ness of our union with God. '^ 

3. We seek God by noticing the signs of His divinity 
in all things created. We follow God by giving ourselves 
up completely to His will, both to do and to suffer whatever 
shall have seemed good to Him. We enjoy God by so 
acquiescing in His love and favour that nothing in heaven 
or on earth appears to us more to be desired than God 
Himself, that nothing appears pleasanter to think of, and 
nothing sweeter than to sing His praises ; thus our hearts 
are joined to His in love. 

218 



THE METHOD OF INSTILLING PIETY 219 

4. The sources from which we can draw this exaltation 
are three, and the manner in which we can draw from them 
is threefold. 

5. These sources are Holy Writ, the world, and ourselves. 
The first is the Word of God, the second is His handiwork, 
and the third is inspired by Him. There is no doubt that 
we can derive the knowledge and the love of God from the 
Scriptures. The very heathen testify that piety can be 
derived from the world and from the wise contemplation of 
the marvellous works of God contained in it ; for they, by 
nothing but the contemplation of the world, were brought 
to revere the Godhead. This is shown by the examples 
of Socrates, Plato, Epictetus, Seneca, and others. But 
still, in the case of these men, to whom no special revela- 
tion from on high had been given, this feeling of love was 
imperfect, and wrongly directed. That those who seek to 
gain a knowledge of God from His word as well as from 
His works are filled with the deepest love for Him, is shown 
by the instances of Job, Elihu, David, and other pious men. 

6. The manner of drawing piety from these sources is 
threefold : meditation, prayer, and examination. 

" These three," says Luther, " make a theologian ; but 
indeed they are essential to make a true Christian." 

7. Meditation is the constant, attentive, and devoted 
consideration of the works, the words, and the goodness 
of God ; the thoughtful acknowledgment that it is from the 
good-will of God alone (either active or permissive) that 
all things come, and that all the counsels of the divine 
will attain their end in the most marvellous ways. 

8. Prayer is the frequent, or rather the continual, yearn- 
ing after God, and the supplication that He may sustain us 
in His mercy and guide us with His Spirit. 

g. Examination is the continual testing of our progress 
in piety, and may come from ourselves or from others. 
Under this head come human, devilish, and divine tempta- 
tions. For men should examine themselves to see if they 
are faithful, and do the will of God ; and it is necessary 
that we should be tested by other men, by our friends, and 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



by our enemies. This is the case when those who are set 
over others are vigilant and attentive, and, by open or 
by secret scrutiny, try to find out what progress has been 
made ; or when God places an adversary by our side to 
teach us to find our refuge in Him, and to show us how 
strong our faith is. Finally, Satan himself is sent by God, 
or comes against us of his own accord, that the state of 
our hearts may be made evident. 

These three modes, therefore, must be instilled into the 
Christian youth, that they may learn to raise their hearts 
to Him who is the first and the last of all things, and may 
seek rest for their souls in Him alone. 

10. The special method is contained in twenty-one 
rules. 

(i.) Care should be taken to instil piety in early child- 
hood. 

For not to put off such instruction is advantageous, and 
to put it off is dangerous, since it is only reasonable to 
begin with what naturally comes first, and is the most im- 
portant. But what is more important than piety ? What 
else is profitable for all things, having promise of the life 
which now is, and of that which is to come ? ( i Tim. iv. 8). 
This is the one thing needful (Luke x. 42), to seek the 
Kingdom of God, since all things shall be added to him 
who does so (Matt. vi. 33). To postpone this is hazardous, 
since, unless the mind be imbued with the love of God 
when young, it is easy for a silent contempt of the God- 
head and for profanity to make their entrance, and when 
once they have done so, it is difficult, if not impossible, to 
dislodge them. Thus the prophet, complaining of the 
horrible impiety of his people, says that there are none 
left whom God can teach, save " them that are weaned 
from the milk and drawn from the breasts," that is to say, 
the young (Isaiah xxviii. 9), and another prophet says 
that it is impossible to convert to well-doing those that 
are accustomed to do evil (Jeremiah xiii. 2 3). 

11. (ii.) Therefore, as soon as children can use their eyes, 
their tongues, their hands, and their feet, let them learn to 



THE METHOD OF INSTILLING PIETY 221 

look towards heaven, to stretch their hands upwards, to 
utter the names of God and of Christ, to bend the knee 
before His unseen majesty, and to revere it. 

It is not so difficult to teach these things to children 
as those imagine, who, not realising how important 
it is for us to tear ourselves away from Satan, from the 
world, and from ourselves, pay little consideration to a 
matter of such gravity. At first the children will not 
understand the true nature of what they are doing, since 
their intelligence is still weak ; but what is of importance is 
that they learn to do that which subsequent experience 
will teach them to be right. For, when they have got into 
the habit of acting as they should, it will be easier to 
explain to them why such conduct is good, and how it is 
best carried out. God has commanded to consecrate all 
first-fruits to Him ; why not, therefore, the first-fruits of 
our thoughts, of our utterances, of our movements, and of 
our actions ? 

12. (iii.) While it is still possible to influence boys, it is 
of great importance to impress upon them that we are not 
here for the sake of this life, but are destined for eternity ; 
that our life on earth is only transitory, and serves to 
prepare us for our eternal home. 

This can easily be taught by the examples of infants, boys, 
youths, and old men who are daily snatched away by death. 
These facts should be diligently impressed on the young, that 
they may realise how very transitory our life on earth is. 

13. (iv.) They should also be taught that our only 
business on earth should be to prepare for the next world. 

For it would be foolish to pay attention to those things 
which will be taken from us, and to neglect those things 
which will accompany us into eternity. 

14. (v.) They should then be taught that the life to which 
men go when they leave this earth, is twofold : either a 
blessed life with God, or a wretched one in hell, and that 
both are everlasting. 

This may be demonstrated by the example of Lazarus 
and the rich man ; for the soul of the former was carried 



THE GREAT DIDACTIC 



away by angels into heaven, while that of the latter was 
carried by devils into hell. 

15. (vi.) And that those are thrice happy, who order 
their conduct in such a way that they are found worthy to 
stand in God's presence. 

For apart from God, the source of light and of life, 
there is nothing but darkness, terror, agony, and everlasting 
death that knows no end ; so that it were better that they 
had never been born, who stray from God and cast them- 
selves into the pit of eternal destruction. 

16. (vii.) But that those who have communed with God 
on earth, will go to Him after death. 

As did Enoch and Elias, both while living, and others 
also (Gen. v. 24). 

1 7. (viii.) That those commune with God who keep Him 
continually before their eyes, fear Him, and fulfil His word. 

And that this is the whole duty of man (Eccles. xi. 13), 
to which Christ referred when He said, " There is but one 
thing needful " (Luke x. 42). This is what Christians should 
ever have on their lips and in their hearts, lest, like Martha, 
they be too much engrossed with the cares of this life. 

18. (ix.) They should, therefore, acquire the habit of re- 
ferring to God all that they see, hear, touch, do, and endure 
on earth. 

Instances of this should be given. Those, for instance 
(it may be pointed out), who devote themselves to letters 
and a life of contemplation, should do so with but one 
object in view, namely, that they may see in everything the 
power, the wisdom, and the goodness of God, that they 
may be filled with love for Him, and may unite themselves 
so fast to Him in love that they can never be torn away. 
Those, again, who are engaged in practical pursuits, such 
as agriculture or mechanics, these have to seek bread and 
the necessaries of life ; but they should do so merely that 
they may live in decent comfort, and should strive to live 
thus solely that they may be enabled to serve God with a 
quiet and cheerful spirit, and that, by serving Him and 
proving acceptable to Him, they may be united with Him 



THE METHOD OF INSTILLING PIETY 223 

eternally. Those who have other ends in view deviate 
from God's will and from God Himself 

19. (x.) From the very outset they should learn to find 
their chief occupation in those things that lead directly to 
God : in reading the Scriptures, in religious ceremonies, 
and in other good works. 

For the perusal of the Scriptures renews and fosters our 
acquaintance with God, religious ceremonies create a link 
between God and man, and good works strengthen this 
link, for they show that we really observe the Word of God. 
These three should be seriously commended to all who are 
destined to lead a Godly life (as are all the Christian 
youth, dedicated to God through baptism). 

20. (xi.) The Holy Scriptures must be the Alpha and 
the Omega of Christian schools. 

Hyperius ^^ said that a theologian was born of the Scrip- 
tures, and we may find this observation at greater length 
in the Apostle Peter, who says that the sons of God are 
born of incorruptible seed, through the Word of God that 
liveth and abideth (i Peter i. 23). 

In Christian schools, therefore, God's Book should rank 
before all other books ; that, like Timothy, all the Christian 
youth may, from boyhood, know the sacred writings which 
are able to make them wise unto salvation (2 Tim. iii. 
15), and may be nourished in the words of the faith 
(i Tim. iv. 6). On this subject Erasmus has written well 
in his Paracksis, or Exhortation to the Study of Christian 
Philosophy. " The Holy Scripture " (he says) " is equally 
suitable to all, is within the capacity of little ones, 
nourishes them with milk, cherishes them, sustains them, 
and does all for them until they grow up in Christ. But, 
while it can be comprehended by the lowest intelligences, 
it is none the less an object of wonder to the highest. 
There is no age, no sex, no rank of life to which it is 
unsuitable. The sun is not more the common property of 
mankind than is the teaching of Christ. It rejects none 
save those who hold themselves at a distance." He con- 
tinues, " Would that it were translated into all languages, 



224 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

that it might be known by the Turks and the Saracens, 
and by the Scotch and the Irish as well. Many would 
mock, it is true, but some would be won over. Would 
that the ploughman might sing it at his plough, that the 
weaver might repeat it at his loom, that the traveller 
might beguile the tedium of the journey by its sacred story, 
and that the conversations of Christians were taken from 
its pages ; for our daily conversation represents our true 
character. Let each one get and read as much of Holy 
Writ as he can. Let him who is behind not envy him 
who is in front. Let him who is in front beckon forward 
him who is behind, and despise him not. Why do we 
confine to a few the book that contains the faith of all ? " 
And near the end, " May all whom we have dedicated to 
Christ in baptism be imbued with His teaching while in 
the arms of their parents and among the caresses of their 
nurses. For that which the mind first drinks in, sinks 
deepest and remains longest. Let our first babbling be of 
Christ, and let our infancy be modelled upon His Evan- 
gelists, which should be set before boys in such a way that 
they may like them. In these studies they should be 
trained, until by a silent increase they develope into men, 
whose strength is in Christ. Happy is he whom death 
snatches away while engaged on this study. Let us all, 
therefore, drink in God's Word with our whole hearts, let 
us embrace it, let us die while occupied with it, let us be 
converted into it, since our morals are so intimately con- 
nected with our studies." In his Compendium of Theology 
also he says : " In my opinion, it would not be a waste of 
time to learn the Holy Book off by heart, even though we 
did not understand it, as says St. Augustine." 

Christian schools, therefore, should resound not with 
Plautus, not with Terence, not with Ovid, not with Aris- 
totle, but with Moses, David, and Christ, and methods 
should be devised by which the Bible may be given to 
children dedicated to God (for all the children of Christians 
are holy) (i Cor. vii. 14) as a means of learning their 
ABC; for thus they would grow familiar with it. For as 



THE METHOD OF INSTILLING PIETY 225 

language is made up of the sounds and the symbols of 
letters, thus is the whole structure of religion and piety 
formed out of the elements of Holy Scripture. 

21. (xii.) Whatever is learned from Scripture should 
convey a lesson of faith, charity, and hope. 

These are the three noblest dispositions, and to these 
everything that God has seen good to reveal to us in 
His Word has reference. For he reveals some things to 
us that we may believe them, others He commands us that 
we may do them, and others again He promises that we 
may expect them from His mercy, both in this and in the 
future world. In the whole Bible nothing occurs that 
cannot be brought under one of these heads. All, there- 
fore, should be taught to understand and to read intelli- 
gently what God has revealed. 

22. (xiii.) Faith, charity, and hope should be taught for 
practical use. 

From the very beginning it is necessary to form practical 
and not theoretical Christians, if we wish to form true 
Christians at all. For religion is a real thing and not a 
reflection of reality, and should prove its reality by the 
practical results that it produces, just as a seed that is 
planted in good earth soon germinates. Hence the Scrip- 
ture requires a " working faith" (Gal. v. 6), calls faith apart 
from works "barren" (James ii. 20), and asks for a "living 
hope" (i Peter i. 3). Hence the constant injunction, that 
things are revealed from on high that we should do them. 
Christ also says : " If ye know these things, blessed are ye 
if ye do them " (John xiii. 17). 

23. (xiv.) Faith, charity, and hope will be taught in a 
practical manner, if boys and all men are taught to believe 
implicitly in all that God reveals, to do all that He com- 
mands, and to expect all that He promises. 

It should be carefully impressed on the young that, if 
they wish the Word of God to supply them with divine 
strength, they should bring to it a humble and devoted 
heart, prepared to submit itself to God on all occasions, 
and actually doing so at the time. The sunlight reveals 

15 



226 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

nothing to him who refuses to open his eyes, nor can a 
banquet satisfy him who refuses to eat ; and in the same 
way the divine light 'supplied to our minds, the rules given 
for our actions, and the happiness promised to those who 
fear God, are all in vain unless they are received with 
prompt faith, earnest charity, and firm hope. Thus, 
Abraham, the father of the faithful, trusted the Word of 
God and believed things incredible to the reason ; obeyed 
the commands of God, no matter how hard they were 
(when bidden leave his native land and sacrifice his son) ; 
and hoped for things that seemed impossible, trusting in 
the promises of God — which living and active faith was 
counted to him for righteousness. All, therefore, who 
devote themselves to God, should be taught to fulfil these 
duties in their own persons. 

24. (xv.) Whatever is taught to the young in addition 
to the Scriptures (sciences, arts, languages, etc.) should be 
taught as purely subordinate subjects. In this way it will 
be made evident to the pupils that all that does not relate 
to God and to the future life is nothing but vanity. 

Socrates is praised by the ancients because he turned 
philosophy from its barren and thorny speculations and 
brought it to bear on the province of morals. The Apostles 
professed to recall Christians from the thorny questions 
of the law and to lead them to the sweet charity of Christ 
(i Tim. i. 5 seq^, and in the same way many modern 
theologians urge us to leave confused controversies, that 
destroy the Church far more than they build it up, and to 
attend to our own consciences and the practice of piety. 
O that God would have pity on us, that we might find some 
universal method by which all that occupies the mind of 
man might be brought into relation with God, and that we 
miglit learn to convert the business of this life, in which 
all mankind is immersed, into a preparation for the life to 
come ! This would, indeed, be a sacred ladder on which 
our minds might mount to the eternal protector of all 
things, to the source of true happiness. 

25. (xvi.) All should be taught to reverence God both 



THE METHOD OF INSTILLING PIETY 227 

inwardly and outwardly. For inward without outward 
reverence tends to grow faint, while outward without inward 
reverence degenerates into hypocrisy. 

The outward worship of God consists in conversing 
about Him, in preaching and hearing His Word, in adoring 
Him on bended knee, in singing His praises in hymns, and 
in attending to the Sacraments and the other services of the 
Church, public and private. The inward worship of God 
consists of continual meditation on the divine presence, of 
fearing and loving God, of abnegation and resignation of 
self, and of the ready will to do or to suffer all that God 
desires. These two forms of worship must be joined 
together, and not torn asunder ; not only because it is right 
that God should be glorified in our bodies and in our 
minds, which belong to Him (i Cor. vi. 20), but also 
because -they cannot be separated without danger. Out- 
ward ceremonies without inward truth are an abomination 
to God, who says : "Who demands these things from you ? " 
(Isaiah i.), " for He is a spirit and must be worshipped in 
spirit and in truth " (John iv.). But, since we are not 
merely spirits but have bodies and senses as well, it is 
necessary for our senses to be outwardly stimulated, that 
we may inwardly do what is right in spirit and in truth. 
On this account God, though He lays more stress on 
inward worship, ordained outward ceremonies and wishes 
them to be observed. Christ freed the worship of the 
New Testament from ceremony and taught that God 
should be worshipped in spirit and in truth, yet He Himself 
bent His head when He prayed to His Father, and con- 
tinued His prayer for nights together ; used to attend 
religious meetings, heard and questioned the doctors of 
the law, preached the Word, and sang hymns. Therefore 
when we educate the young, we should educate them 
thoroughly, externally and internally, since otherwise we 
may produce either hypocrites, that is to say, superficial, 
fraudulent, and false worshippers of God, or fanatics, who 
delight in their own visions, and through their contempt 
of outward form undermine the Church, or, finally, luke- 



228 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

warm Christians, in whom the stimulus of external or the 
reality of internal worship is wanting. 

26. (xvii.) Boys should be carefully habituated to the 
outward works which are commanded by God, that they 
may know that it is true Christianity to express faith by 
works. 

Such works are the exercise of temperance, justice, 
pity, and patience, which should continually occupy our 
attention. " For, unless our faith brings forth such fruit 
it is manifestly dead " (James ii.). But it must be living if 
it is to bring us salvation. 

27. (xviii.) They should also learn to distinguish care- 
fully the objects of the blessings and of the judgments of 
God, that they may make a good use of them. 

Fulgentius ^^ (Letter II. to Gallas) divides the blessings 
of God into three classes. According to him, some are to 
last for ever, others are to help us to attain eternity, while 
others are only for the use of this present life. Of the first 
kind are the knowledge of God, the joy of the Holy Spirit, 
and the love of God that fills our hearts. Of the second 
kind are faith, hope, and compassion for our neighbours. 
Of the third kind are health, riches, friends, and the other 
external goods that of themselves make us neither happy 
nor unhappy. 

In the same way the judgments or chastisements of God 
are of three kinds. Some (whom God wishes to spare in 
the life everlasting) are seized on earth and are tortured 
that they may be purified and whitened (Dan. xi. 35 ; Rev. 
vii. 14), as was the case with Lazarus. Others are spared 
here that they may be punished in eternity, as was the 
Rich Man. While the punishments of others begin here 
and are continued in eternity, as is the case with Saul, 
Antiochus, Herod, Judas, etc. 

Men, therefore, must be taught to distinguish all these 
from one another, that they may not be deceived by the 
good things of the flesh and give precedence to what is 
transitory, that they may realise that present ills are less 
to be feared than hell-fire, and " that they should not fear 



THE METHOD OF INSTILLING PIETY 229 

those who can only kill the body and have no further 
power, but Him who can destroy the body and can also 
thrust the soul down to hell " (Luke xii.). 

28. (xix.) They should also be told that the safest path 
of life is the path of the Cross ; that Christ the King of 
Life has trodden it before us, and invites to it and leads 
along it those whom He loves best. 

The mystery of our salvation was consummated on the 
Cross and depends on the Cross ; for by it the old Adam 
was slain that the new Adam, fashioned after God's image, 
might live. Those, therefore, whom God loves. He chastises 
and crucifies with Christ, that when they rise with Christ 
He may set them on His right hand in heaven. Now, 
though this lesson of the Cross tells the power of God to 
save those who believe, to the flesh it is foolishness and an 
offence (i Cor. i. 18). It is therefore very necessary to 
teach this lesson to Christians with great care, that they 
may understand that they cannot be the disciples of Christ 
unless they deny themselves, bear the Cross of Christ on 
their shoulders (Luke xiv. 26), and are prepared throughout 
their whole lives to follow God wherever He may lead them. 

29. (xx.) Care must be taken that, while all this is being 
taught, no conflicting examples come in the way. 

That is to say, the boys must not hear or see blasphemies, 
perjuries, or other acts of impiety, but, whichever way they 
turn, should encounter nothing but reverence for the Deity, 
observance of religion, and conscientiousness. Evil con- 
duct, also, whether at home or at school, should always be 
severely punished, and, if the punishment for profanity be 
always greater than for offences against Priscian ^ or for 
other faults, it will be impressed upon them that the former 
error is the more important to guard against. 

30. (xxi.) In this corrupt state of the world and of 
human nature we never make as much progress as we 
ought, or, if we do advance, are filled with complacency 
and spiritual pride, through the depravity of our flesh. 

Now this is a very great danger (for God resists the 
proud), and therefore all Christians should be taught in 



230 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

their youth that our endeavours and our works are of no 
avail, unless Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the 
sins of the world, help us with His perfection. On Him 
we must call and Him we must trust. 

We shall thus have finally placed the hope of our salva- 
tion in safety, when we have laid the burden on Christ, the 
corner-stone. For He is the culminating point of all 
perfection in heaven and on earth, and is the one and only 
originator and guardian of our faith, our charity, our hope, 
and our salvation. For this reason God sent Him from 
heaven that he might become Immanuel (or God in man) 
and unite all men in God, and that, living with purity in 
the life which He had assumed. He might give men the 
example of a divine life ; that by His innocent death He 
might expiate the sins of the world in His person, and 
might wash us clean with His blood ; that He might show 
His victory over death by His resurrection, and ascending 
into heaven might send the Holy Ghost, the pledge of our 
salvation ; and that He might thus rule us and preserve us, 
and, finally, take us to Himself, that we may be with Him 
and see His glory. 

31. Thus to the eternal Saviour of all men, with the 
Father and the Holy Ghost, be praise, and honour, and 
blessing, and glory, for evermore. Amen. 

32. It remains to draw up a detailed method for the 
several classes. 



CHAPTER XXV 

IF WE WISH TO REFORM SCHOOLS IN ACCORDANCE WITH 
THE LAWS OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY, WE MUST REMOVE 
FROM THEM BOOKS WRITTEN BY PAGANS, OR, AT ANY 
RATE, MUST USE THEM WITH MORE CAUTION THAN 
HITHERTO.** 

I. Resistless necessity compels us to treat at length a 
subject which we have touched on in the previous chapter. 
If we wish our schools to be truly Christian schools, the 
crowd of Pagan writers must be removed from them. 
First, therefore, we will set forth the reasons which underlie 
our views, and then the method of treating these ancient 
writers so that, in spite of our caution, their beautiful 
thoughts, sayings, and deeds may not be lost to us. 

2. Our zeal in this matter is caused by our love of God 
and of man ; for we see that the chief schools profess 
Christ in name only, but hold in highest esteem writers 
like Terence, Plautus, Cicero, Ovid, Catullus, and Tibullus. 
The result of this is that we know the world better than 
we know Christ, and that, though in a Christian country. 
Christians are hard to find. For with the most learned 
men, even with theologians, the upholders of divine 
wisdom, the external mask only is supplied by Christ, 
while the spirit that pervades them is drawn from Aristotle 
and the host of heathen writers. Now this is a terrible 
abuse of Christian liberty, a shameless profanation, and a 
course replete with danger. 

3. Firstly, our children are born for heaven and are 

231 



232 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

reborn through the Holy Ghost. They must therefore be 
educated as citizens of heaven, and their chief instruction 
should be of heavenly things, of God, of Christ, of the 
angels, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. This instruc- 
tion should take place before any other, and all other 
knowledge should be shielded from the pupil ; firstly, 
because of the uncertainty of life, that no one may be 
snatched away unprepared, and secondly, because first 
impressions are the strongest, and (if they are religious 
impressions) lay a safe foundation for all that follows in 
life. 

4. Secondly, God, though He made provision of every 
kind for His chosen people, gave them no school other 
than His own Temple, where He Himself was the Master, 
we were the pupils, and His oracles were the subject taught. 
For thus He speaks by Moses : " Hear, O Israel, the Lord 
our God is one God ; and thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy might. And these words, which I command thee 
this day, shall be upon thine heart ; and thou shalt teach 
them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them 
when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest 
by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou 
risest up " (Deut. vi. 4). And by Isaiah : " I am the Lord 
thy God, which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee 
by the way that thou shouldst go" (xlviii. 17) j and again, 
" Should not a people seek unto their God ? " Christ also 
says : "Search ye the Scriptures" (John v. 39). 

5. God has shown by the following words that His 
voice is the brightest light for our understanding, the most 
perfect law for our actions, and the surest support for our 
weakness. " Behold, I have taught you statutes and judg- 
ments ! Keep therefore and do them ; for this is your 
wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the 
peoples, which shall hear all these statutes and say : 
Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding 
people" (Deut. iv. 5, 6). To Joshua, also, He speaks 
thus : " This book of the law shall not depart out of thy 



PAGAN BOOKS REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS 233 

mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night. 
For then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and thou 
shalt have good success " (Jos. i. 8). By David also He 
says : " The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the 
heart : the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening 
the eyes" (Psalm xix. 8). Finally, the Apostle bears 
witness " that every scripture inspired of God is profitable 
for teaching, etc., that the man of God may be complete " 
(2 Tim. iii. 16, 17). The wisest of men (by this I mean 
truly enlightened Christians) have made the same asser- 
tion. Chrysostom has said : " What it is needful to know, 
and what it is not needful to know, that we can learn 
from the Scriptures." And Cassiodorus^^ g^ys ; « The 
Scriptures are a heavenly school, a guide through life, the 
only true source of information. To search for the true 
meaning of them should occupy the student's whole time, 
and leave him no leisure to be led astray by philology." 

6. God expressly forbade His chosen people to have 
anything to do with the learning or the customs of the 
heathen : " Learn not the way of the nations " (Jer. 
X. 2) ; and again, " Is it because there is no God in Israel 
that ye go to inquire of Baalzebub the God of Ekron ? " 
(2 Kings i. 3) ; " Should not a people seek unto their 
God? on behalf of the living should they seek unto the 
dead ? To the law and to the testimony ! if they speak 
not according to this word, surely there is no morning for 
them" (Isaiah viii. 19, 20). And why? Surely because 
"all wisdom cometh from the Lord, and is with him for 
ever. To whom else hath the root of wisdom been 
revealed ? " (Ecclesiasticus i. i, 6) ; " Although they 
have seen light and dwelt on the earth, the way of know- 
ledge have they not known. Nor understood the paths 
thereof, etc. It hath not been heard of in Chanaan, 
neither hath it been seen in Theman. The Agarenes 
that seek wisdom upon earth, the authors of fables and 
searchers out of understanding, have not known the way 
of wisdom. But he that knoweth all things knoweth it 
and hath found out all the way of knowledge and hath 



234 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

given it unto Jacob his servant and Israel his beloved" 
(Baruch iii. 20, 21, 22, 23, 32, 36, 37); "He hath not 
dealt so with any nation, and as for his judgments, they 
have not known them " (Psalm cxlvii. 2 o). 

7. Whenever His people went aside from His laws to 
the snares of man's imagination, God used to blame not 
only their folly in forsaking the fountain of wisdom (Baruch 
iii. 12), but the twofold evil that they had committed, 
in forsaking Him, the fountain of living waters, and hewing 
them out broken cisterns that could hold no water (Jer. 
ii. 13). Through the agency of Hosea He complained 
also that His people held too much intercourse with other 
nations, saying : " Though I write for him my law in ten 
thousand precepts, they are counted as a strange thing " 
(Hos. viii. 12). But, I ask, is not this what those 
Christians are doing who hold heathen books in their 
hands night and day, while of the sacred Word of God 
they take no account, as if it did not concern them ? 
And yet, as God bears witness, it is no vain thing, but our 
very life (Deut. xxxii. 47). 

8. Therefore the true Church and the true worshippers 
of God have sought for no teaching other than the Word 
of God, from which they have drawn the true and heavenly 
wisdom that is superior to all earthly knowledge. Thus 
David says of himself: "Thy commandments make me 
wiser than rnine enemies," and, " I have more understand- 
ing than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my 
meditation " (Psalm cxix. 98, 99). Similarly Solomon, 
the wisest of mortals, confesses : " The Lord giveth 
wisdom ; out of his mouth cometh knowledge and under- 
standing" (Prov. ii. 6). The son of Sirach also testifies 
(in the prologue to his book) that his wisdom is drawn 
from the law and the prophets. Hence the exultation of 
the righteous when they see light in the light of God 
(Psalm xxxvi. 9) ; " O Israel, happy are we : for things that 
are pleasing to God are made known unto us " (Baruch 
vi. 4). " Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou hast the words 
of eternal life" (John vi. 68). 



PAGAN BOOKS REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS 235 

9. The examples of all ages show us that it has been 
an occasion for stumbling whenever the Church has turned 
aside from the fountain of Israel Of the Jewish Church, 
sufficient is known from the lamentations of the Prophets. 
As regards the Christian Church, we learn from history 
that a pure faith lasted as long as the Gospel, and nothing 
else, was preached by the Apostles and their successors. 
But as soon as the heathen entered the Church in numbers, 
and the ardour that existed at first grew cold, pagan 
books were read, at first in private and then in public, and 
the result was a great confusion of doctrine. The key of 
knowledge was lost by the very men who boasted that 
they alone possessed it, and from that time opinions with- 
out number were substituted for the articles of faith. Then 
did strife arise, whose end is not yet visible ; charity grew 
cold, and piety disappeared. And thus, under the name 
of Christendom, paganism came into existence again, and 
still reigns supreme. For the threat of the Lord Jehovah 
had to be fulfilled : " If they speak not according to the 
Word of God, surely there is no morning for them " (Isaiah 
viii. 20). "Therefore the Lord hath poured out upon 
them the spirit of sleep, and hath closed their eyes, that all 
vision might become unto them as the words of a book 
that is sealed," because they worshipped God in accord- 
ance with the teaching of man (Isaiah xxix. 10, 11, 13, 14). 
O, how truly in their case is fulfilled what the Holy Spirit 
says of the heathen philosophers : " They became vain in 
their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened " 
(Rom. i. 21). In short, if the Church is to be purified 
from uncleanness, there is only one way, and that is to put 
aside all the seductive teaching of man and return to the 
pure springs of Israel, and thus to give over ourselves and 
our children to the teaching and guidance of God and of 
His word. Thus at last will the prophecy come to pass, 
"And all thy children shall be taught of God" (Isaiah 
liv. 13). 

10. Indeed our dignity as Christians (who have been 
made sons of God and heirs of the kingdom of heaven 



236 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

through Christ) does not permit us to degrade ourselves 
and our children by allowing them to have an intimate 
acquaintance with pagan writers, and to read them with 
such approval. We do not choose parasites, fools, or 
buffoons, but serious, wise, and pious men as tutors for the 
sons of our kings and princes. Should we not blush, there- 
fore, when we confide the education of the sons of the 
King of kings, of the brothers of Christ and heirs of 
eternity, to the jesting Plautus, the lascivious Catullus, the 
impure Ovid, that impious mocker at God, Lucian, the 
obscene Martial, and the rest of the writers who are 
ignorant of the true God? Those who, like them, live 
without the hope of a better life, and wallow in the mire 
of earthly existence, are certain to drag down to their own 
level whoever consorts with them. Christians, we have 
carried our folly far enough ! Let us pause here. God 
calls us to better things, and it is good to obey His call. 
Christ, the eternal Wisdom of God, has opened a school 
for the sons of God in His own house ; in which the supreme 
control is exercised by the Holy Spirit, and the professors 
and masters are the Prophets and the Apostles, all endowed 
with true wisdom, and all holy men, who, by their teaching 
and example, point out the way of truth and of salvation ; 
where the pupils are the elect of God, the first-fruits of 
men, ransomed by God and by the Lamb ; where the in- 
spectors and guardians are the angels and archangels, the 
principalities and powers in heaven (Eph. iii. 10); and 
where true wisdom, which is of use to us in this world and 
the next, is taught on all subjects that the mind of man 
can grasp. For the mouth of God is the fountain from 
which all the streams of wisdom flow ; the countenance of 
God is the torch from which the rays of true light are 
scattered ; the Word of God is the root from which spring 
the shoots of true wisdom. Happy are they, therefore, 
who look on the face of God, listen to His words, and 
receive His sayings in their hearts. For this is the only 
true and infallible way to attain the true and eternal 
wisdom. 



PAGAN BOOKS REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS 237 

11. Nor can we omit all mention of the earnestness 
with which God forbade His people to have anything to 
do with the works of the heathen, and of the consequences 
that followed their disregard of His injunction : " The Lord 
will consume those nations from thy sight. But the graven 
images of their gods shall ye burn with fire. Thou shalt 
not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it 
unto thee, lest thou be snared therein, for it is an abomina- 
tion to the Lord thy God ; and thou shalt not bring an 
abomination into thine house, and become a devoted thing 
like unto it" (Deut. vii. 22, 25, 26). And again: "When 
the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before 
thee, take heed to thyself that thou be not ensnared to 
follow them, after that they be destroyed from before 
thee, and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, 
How do these nations serve their gods ? But what thing 
soever I command you, that shall ye observe to do ; thou 
shalt not add thereto nor diminish from it" (Deut. xii. 
29). After their victory Joshua reminded them of this, 
and advised them to remove the idols (Jos. xxiv. 23); but 
they did not obey him, and these heathen productions 
became a snare for them, so that they continually fell into 
idolatry until both kingdoms were overthrown. Should 
not we, therefore, take warning by their example, and avoid 
their error ? 

12. "But books are not idols," some one will say. I 
reply : They are the works of the heathen, whom God has 
destroyed from before the face of His Christian people, as 
He did of old. Nay, they are more dangerous than idols. 
For these only led away those who were fools at heart 
(Jer. X. 14), while books deceive even the wisest (Col. ii. 
8). The former were works of men's hands (as God used 
to say when chiding the folly of the idolaters), the latter 
are the works of the human understanding. The former 
dazzled the eyes by the brilliancy of their gold and silver, 
the latter blind the intelligence by the plausibility of their 
carnal wisdom. Do you still deny that pagan books are 
idols ? What was it that led the Emperor Julian away 



238 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

from Christ ? What was it that so undermined the under- 
standing of Pope Leo X. that he believed the history. of 
Christ to be a mere fable ? Under what influence did 
Cardinal Bembo^" dissuade Sadoleto from reading the 
Bible (saying that such folly was unsuitable for so great a 
man) ? What is it that in these days leads so many learned 
Italians and others towards Atheism ? Would that there 
were none in the reformed Church of Christ who have 
been drawn away from the Scriptures by Cicero, Plautus, 
and Ovid, writers that reek of death. 

13. But it may be said ; The abuse must be attributed 
not to the things, but to the persons. There are pious 
Christians to whom no harm is done by reading pagan 
authors. The Apostle replies : " We know that no idol is 
anything in the world : howbeit in all men there is not 
that knowledge (that is to say, the power of discerning). 
Take heed lest this liberty of yours become a stumbling- 
block to the weak " ( i Cor. viii. 4, 7, 9). 

Now God in His mercy preserves many from destruc- 
tion, and there is no excuse for us if, knowingly and will- 
ingly, we have anything to do with such snares (I mean 
the divers inventions of the human mind or of Satan's 
cunning), since it is certain that some, nay most men, are 
unhinged by them and are led into Satan's net. Let us 
rather obey God and not bring idols into our house, nor 
set up Dagon by the Ark of the Covenant, nor mingle the 
wisdom that is from on high with that which is earthly, 
bestial, and devilish, nor give any occasion for stirring up 
the anger of God against our sons. 

14. Of a precisely similar nature was the event that 
Moses uses as an illustration. Nadab and Abihu, the sons 
of Aaron, and young priests (in ignorance of their duty), 
filled their censers with common, instead of with sacred, 
fire. For this they were smitten with fire by God, and 
died (Levit. x. i). Now what are the children of Christians 
but a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices to 
God? (i Peter ii. 5). If we fill their censers, their minds, 
with strange fire, are we not handing them over to the 



PAGAN BOOKS REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS 239 

anger of God ? For to a Christian soul all is strange, and 
should be strange, that has any other source than the Holy 
Spirit ; and of such a kind are the ravings of the heathen 
philosophers and poets, as the Apostle bears witness (Rom. 
i. 21, 22 ; Col. ii. 8, 9). Not without reason did Jerome 
call poetry the wine of devils ; since it intoxicates the 
incautious and sends them to sleep, and, while they sleep, 
plies them with monstrous opinions, dangerous temptations, 
and the foulest desires. We should therefore be on our 
guard against these philtres of Satan. 

15. If we do not obey the wise counsels of God, the 
Ephesians will stand in judgment against us, for they, as 
soon as the light of divine wisdom shone upon them, burnt 
all their curious books, since these were henceforth useless 
to them as Christians (Acts xix. 19). The modern Greek 
Church also, although there exist the most excellent philo- 
sophical and poetical works, written by the Greeks of old, 
who were reputed the wisest of men, has forbidden its 
followers to read them under pain of excommunication. 
The result of this is that, although with the invasion of 
barbarism they have fallen into great ignorance and super- 
stition, God has hitherto preserved them from being carried 
away by anti-Christian error. In this matter, therefore, 
we ought to imitate them, that (greater stress being laid on 
the reading of Scripture) the heathen darkness, which still 
remains, may be removed, and that in the Ught of God 
we may see light (Psalm xxxvi. 9). " O house of Jacob, 
come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord " (Isaiah 

ii- S). 

16. Let us now see by what reasonings the mind of man 
rebels against these injunctions, and winds about like a 
snake, seeking to avoid the necessity of obeying the Faith 
and serving God. The arguments used are as follows : 

17. (i.) Great wisdom is to be found in the philosophers, 
the orators and the poets. I answer : Those are worthy 
of darkness who turn away their eyes from the light. 
Twilight is as mid-day to the owl, but animals, that are 
accustomed to light, think otherwise. O foolish men who 



240 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

look for light ia the darkness of the human reason ! Lift 
up your eyes on high. The true light comes from heaven, 
from the Father of Light ! Any light that is visible in 
human efforts arises from a few sparks that seem to shine 
because of the darkness that surrounds them ; but what 
are a few sparks to us, in whose hands a blazing torch has 
been placed (the effulgent word of God) ? If men investi- 
gate natural phenomena, they do but set the glass to their 
lips, without touching the wine ; while in the Scriptures the 
Ruler of the Universe Himself recounts the mysteries of 
His works, and explains the nature of things created, visible 
and invisible. When the philosophers talk of morals, they 
are like birds that have been caught with quicklime, for 
they make great efforts to move without making any ad- 
vance. But the Scriptures contain true descriptions of the 
virtues, with keen exhortations that pierce to the marrow. 
When pagan writers wish to teach piety, they merely teach 
superstition, since they are not imbued with the true know- 
ledge of God or of His will. " For, behold, darkness shall 
cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples : but the 
Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen 
upon thee " (Isaiah Ix. 2). Now the sons of light should be 
at liberty to journey to the sons of darkness, that, having 
seen what a difference there is, they may rejoice the more 
in the path of light, and may feel compassion for the dark- 
ness of their neighbours ; but to wish to exalt their glimmer 
above our *own light is intolerable, and an insult to God 
and to our souls. " Of what advantage is it," says Isidor,^^ 
" to be learned in human doctrine, and know nothing 
of divine? to follow perishable inventions, and despise 
heavenly mysteries? If we love the Scriptures we must 
avoid those books that outwardly are eloquent and well 
written, but inwardly lack wisdom." What a condemnation 
of such books ! They are husks without kernels. Such 
was also the opinion of Philip Melanchthon : " What do the 
best philosophers teach but self-confidence and self-love ? 
Cicero in his De Finibus estimates each kind of virtue with 
reference to self-love. How much pride and haughtiness 



PAGAN BOOKS REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS 241 

there is in Plato ! It seems to me that a self-sufficient 
character must inevitably imbibe faulty instincts from the 
ambition that pervades his writings. The teaching of 
Aristotle is nothing but one long" struggle to prove himself 
worthy of a good place among the writers on practical 
philosophy " (System of Theology). 

18. (ii.) Again it is said : If they do not teach theology 
rightly, at any rate they teach philosophy, and this cannot 
be learned from the sacred writings, that have been given 
us for our salvation. I answer : The Word of God most 
high is the fountain of wisdom (Ecclesiasticus i. 5). 
True philosophy is nothing but the true knowledge of God 
and of His works, and this cannot be learned better than 
from the mouth of God Himself For this reason St. 
Augustine, praising the Holy Scripture, says : " Here is 
philosophy, since the cause of everything that exists is in 
the Creator. Here are ethics, since a good and honest 
life can only be formed if those things are loved which ought 
to be loved, that is to say, God and our neighbour. Here 
is logic, since truth, the light of the rational soul, is God 
Himself. Herein is the salvation of the state ; for the 
state can never be well guarded, or rest on a foundation 
of confidence and peace, unless the common good be 
loved, and this, in its highest and truest sense, is God." 
Recently, too, it has been pointed out by many that the 
foundations of all the sciences and philosophic arts are 
contained in Scripture, and more truly than elsewhere, so 
that the part played by the Holy Spirit in our education is 
indeed wonderful. For, though its first object is to instruct 
us in things invisible and eternal, it nevertheless unfolds 
the laws of nature and of art at the same time, teach- 
ing us how to reason wisely on all subjects and how to 
apply our reason in a practical manner. Yet of all' this 
there is but a trace in the works of the pagan philo- 
sophers. A writer on theology has said that the mar- 
vellous wisdom of Solomon consisted in bringing the law 
of God into the families, the schools, and the public places, 
and there is no reason why the wisdom of Solomon, that 

16 



242 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

is to say, true and heavenly wisdom, should not once more 
be ours, if we give our children the Word of God instead of 
pagan books, and thus supply them with counsels for all 
the chances of life. Our object, therefore, should be to have 
in our homes that which can make us wise, even in that 
external or worldly wisdom that we call philosophy. Those 
were luckless times when the children of Israel had to go 
down to the Philistines to polish each man his plough, his 
mattock or his axe, because there was no smith in the 
land of the Israelities (i Sam. xiii. 19, 20). But it is surely 
not necessary that the resources of the Israelites should 
always be limited in this way ; especially as the arrangement 
was a bad one, for the following reason : the Philistines 
supplied the Israelites with harrows, but on no account 
would they supply them with swords that might be used 
against themselves. From the pagan philosophers, in the 
same way, you can get the well-known syllogisms and flowers 
of speech, but from this source you will find it impossible 
to procure swords and spears with which to combat impiety 
and superstition. Let us then hope for the times of David 
and of Solomon, when the Philistines were laid low but 
Israel reigned and rejoiced in its good fortune. 

19. (iii.) But, for the sake of style, students of Latin 
should read Terence, Plautus, and similar writers. I answer : 
Are we to bring our children into ale-houses, cook-shops, 
taverns, and other dens of iniquity, in order that they 
may learn how to speak ? For, I ask you, is it not into 
such unclean places that Terence, Plautus, Catullus, Ovid, 
and the rest of them lead our young ? What do they set 
before them but jesting, feasting, drunkenness, amours, and 
deceits, from which Christians should avert their eyes and 
ears, even if they encounter them by chance? Is the 
natural man not depraved enough, that it is necessary to 
bring to him and to show to him all manner of wickedness, 
and, as it were, to seek out opportunities to hurl him to 
destruction ? But it will be said : " The matter in those 
authors is not all bad." I answer : Evil sticks far more 
readily than good, and it is therefore a very dangerous 



PAGAN BOOKS REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS 243 

practice to send the young to a spot where good and evil 
occur in combination. If we wish to poison any one, we 
do not give him poison alone, but mix it with some pleasant 
drink, the presence of which does not interfere with the 
action of the poison. This is precisely the way in which 
these men-destroyers of old mixed their hellish poisons 
with cunning inventions and with elegance of style ; and 
are we to remain conscious of their devices and not strike 
the potion from their hands ? 

Some one else may object : " They are not all lascivious 
writers. Cicero, Virgil, Horace, and others are serious 
and earnest." I answer : None the less they are blind 
pagans, and turn the minds of their readers from the true 
God to other gods and goddesses (Jove, Mars, Neptune, 
Venus, Fortune, etc.), though God has said to His people : 
" Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither 
let it be heard out of thy mouth " (Exodus xxiii. 13). Then 
what a chaos of superstitions, of false opinions, of earthly 
desires at variance with one another, is to be found in 
these writers ! The spirit with which they fill their 
readers must be very different from that of Christ. Christ 
calls us from the world, they plunge us into the world. 
Christ teaches self-abnegation, they teach self-love. Christ 
teaches us to be humble, they to be magnanimous. 
Christ demands meekness, they inculcate self-assertion. 
Christ bids us be simple as doves, they show us how to 
turn an argument in a thousand different ways. Christ 
urges us to modesty, they spend their time in mocking 
others. Christ loves those who believe easily, they prefer 
those who are suspicious, argumentative, and obstinate. 
To conclude briefly and in the words of the Apostle : 
"What communion hath light with darkness? and 
what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion 
hath a believer with an unbeliever?" (2 Cor. vi. 15). 
Rightly does Erasmus say : " Bees avoid withered flowers ; 
and no book, the contents of which are impure, should be 
opened." And again : " It is safest to sleep on clover, 
for it is said that no serpents lurk in it, and on the same 



244 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

principle we should confine ourselves to those books in 
which no poison is to be feared." 

2 0. Moreover, what attraction have these pagan 
authors that is not to be found in our sacred writers? 
Are they the only people who understand the elegances of 
style ? The most perfect master of language is he who 
gave it to us, the Holy Spirit. His words are sweeter 
than honey and more piercing than a two-edged sword ; 
more active than the fire that liquefies metals, and 
weightier than a hammer which grinds rocks to powder, 
for they tell us of God. Is it heathen writers alone 
who relate marvellous events ? Our Scriptures are full 
of events that are truer and far more wonderful. Are 
they the only authors who can fashion figures of 
speech, and riddling sayings, or write passages that are 
forcible and pithy? Our Scriptures are full of such 
passages. Leprous is his imagination who prefers Abana 
and Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, to Jordan and the 
waters of Israel (2 Kings v. 12). Blind is the eye to 
which Olympus, Helicon, and Parnassus seem more 
beautiful than Sinai, Sion, Hermon, Tabor, and Olivet. 
Deaf is the ear to which the lyre of Orpheus, of Homer, 
or of Virgil sounds sweeter than David's lute. Corrupt 
is the palate to which Nectar, Ambrosia, and the Castalian 
springs taste better than celestial Manna and the fountains 
of Israel. Perverse is the heart that finds more pleasure 
in the names of the gods, the goddesses, the muses, and 
the graces than in the adorable names of Jehovah, of 
Christ the Saviour, and of the Holy Ghost. Blind is the 
hope that wanders through the Elysian fields in preference 
to the gardens of Paradise. With them all is romance, 
a mere shadow of truth, while with us all is reality and the 
very essence of truth. 

21. But it will be said: These writers contain elegances 
of speech and moral sentiments that are worthy of our 
adoption. Is not this a sufficient reason for sending our 
children to them ? Should we not spoil the Egyptians 
and strip them of their raiment? Does not God bid 



PAGAN BOOKS REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS 245 

us do so? (Exodus iii. 22). It is the right of the 
Church to usurp all the possessions of the heathen. I 
answer : When Manasseh and Ephraim wished to seize 
the land of the heathen, the men alone advanced; the 
women and children stayed behind in safety (Joshua i. 1 4). 
We should do the same. Men of wisdom and judgment, 
steadfast in the faith, should go forward and disarm these 
pagan writers ; the young should not be exposed to 
danger. What if our youths were killed or wounded or 
taken prisoner? How many, alas, has pagan philosophy 
already drawn away from Christ and given over to 
Atheism ! The safest plan, therefore, is to send armed 
men to deprive those accursed by heaven of their gold, 
silver, and precious things, and to distribute them among 
the heirs of God. O that God would stir up some 
heroic spirit to cull those flowers of elegance from the vast 
deserts in which they grow, and plant them in the garden 
of Christian philosophy, that nothing be lacking there. 

22. Finally, if any pagan writers are to be coun- 
tenanced, let them be Seneca, Epictetus, Plato, and similar 
teachers of virtue and honesty ; since in these comparatively 
little error and superstition are to be found. This was 
the opinion of the great Erasmus, who advised that the 
Christian youth be brought up on the Holy Scriptures, but 
added : " If they have anything to do with profane litera- 
ture, let it be with those books that approximate most closely 
to the Scriptures " ( Compendium of Theology). But even 
these books should not be given to the young until their 
Christian faith is well assured ; and in any case careful 
editions should be issued in which the names of the gods 
and the general tone of superstition should be removed. 
For it is on the condition that their heads be shaved and 
their nails pared, that God allows heathen maidens to be 
taken to wife (Deut. xxi. 1 2). Let there be no misunder- 
standing. We do not absolutely prohibit Christians from 
reading heathen writings, since to those who believe Christ 
has given the power of taking up serpents, and drinking 
deadly things with impunity (Mark xvi. 18); but the sons 



246 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

of God, whose faith is yet weak, should not be exposed to 
these serpents, and to give them the opportunity of drinking 
such poison would indeed be rash. Great caution should 
therefore be used, and this is what we urge. The Spirit 
of Christ has said that the children of God should be 
nourished by the spiritual milk that is without guile (i 
Peter ii. 2 ; 2 Tim. iii. 15). 

23. But those who thus incautiously aid the cause 
of Satan and oppose that of Christ have yet another 
argument. "The Holy Scriptures," they say, "are too 
hard for the young, and therefore some other books must 
be given them to read until their judgment is mature." 

I answer : This is the language of those who err and 
know not the Scriptures nor the power of God, as I will 
show in three ways : firstly, there is a well-known story 
told of Timotheus the celebrated musician, that whenever 
he took a fresh pupil he asked him if he had already 
learned the rudiments with another master. If he answered 
in the negative he took him at a moderate price ; if in the 
affirmative he charged twice as much. For he said that 
those who had already learned give him twice as much 
trouble, as he had first to cure them of their bad habits, 
and then to teach them the right way to play. Now, our 
master, and that of the human race, is Jesus Christ, and 
we are forbidden to go to any other (Matt. xvii. 5, and 
xxiii. 8). He it was who said : " Suffer the little children 
to come unto me, and forbid them not" (Mark x. 14), and 
shall we, contrary to His will, lead them elsewhere ? Are 
we afraid that Christ's task will be too light, and that He 
will teach them His ways too easily ? And are we therefore 
to take them through the cook-shops and taverns, and give 
them to Christ to reform when thoroughly corrupt ? This 
is a terrible proposal for the unhappy and innocent boys ; 
for either they will have to spend their whole lives in 
laboriously getting rid of the habits they have acquired, or 
they will be altogether rejected by Christ, and given over 
to the tuition of Satan. Is not that which has ■ been 
consecrated to Moloch an abomination to God ? Let the 



PAGAN BOOKS REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS 2i\n 



Christian magistrates and the heads of the Churches — by 
God's mercy I implore it — take steps to prevent Christian 
boys, born in Christ and consecrated through baptism, 
from being offered up to Moloch. 

24. The cry that the Scriptures are too difficult to 
be understood by children, is altogether false. Does God 
not know how to suit His Word to our understanding? 
(Deut. xxxi. II, 12, 13). Does not David say that the 
law of the Lord gives wisdom to little ones (N.B. to little 
ones) ? Does not Peter say that the Word of God is milk 
for the newborn babes of God, given to them that they may 
grow thereby unto salvation (i Peter ii. 2)? The Word of 
God, therefore, is the sweetest and best milk for the new- 
born children of God. Why oppose God on this point? 
Especially since pagan learning needs teeth to masticate 
it ; yes, and often breaks them. Therefore the Holy Spirit, 
through David, invites the little ones into His school : 
" Come, ye children, hearken unto me ; I will teach you 
the fear of the Lord" (Psalm xxxi v. 11). 

25. Lastly, that the Scriptures contain passages of great 
profundity is perfectly true ; but they are of such a kind 
that, while elephants sink to the bottom, lambs can swim 
with ease in them, to quote the words of St. Augustine 
when he wished to lay stress on the difference between 
the wise of the world who rush into Scriptural criticism 
presumptuously and Christ's little ones who approach 
God's Word in a humble and meek spirit. Besides, what 
need is there to begin with difficult passages? We can 
proceed step by step. First, we should embark upon the 
Catechism, and then keep in shallow water by teaching 
Scripture history, moral sentences, and the like, that can be 
easily understood, but which at the same time lead to the 
weightier matters that follow. And finally, when our pupils 
are fit for it, we can introduce them to the mysteries of the 
Faith. Thus, knowing the sacred writings from their 
infancy, they will be the more easily preserved from worldly 
corruption, and will be made wise unto salvation through 
faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. iii. 15). For, if a 



248 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

man give himself up to God, sit at the feet of Christ, and 
listen to the wisdom that comes from on high, it is im- 
possible that the Spirit of Grace should not fill him, kindle 
within him the light of true reason, and point out the true 
path of salvation. 

26. I pass over the fact that those authors who are 
placed before Christian boys instead of the Bible (Terence, 
Cicero, Virgil, etc.), possess the very defects that are 
attributed to the Scriptures, since they are difficult and 
not suited to the young. It was not for boys that they 
wrote, but for men of mature judgment, accustomed to 
the theatre and the law-courts, and it therefore goes with- 
out saying that they can be of no advantage to any one 
else. One thing at any rate is certain, that he who has 
reached man's estate will derive more profit from reading 
Cicero once than if he had learned his entire works off by 
heart when a boy, and that such studies should therefore 
be deferred to a suitable season, and then only approached 
by those to whom they will be of use, if indeed they are of 
use to any one. 

Of far greater importance is the point that has already 
been mentioned, namely, that the task of Christian schools 
is to form citizens, not for the world, but for heaven, and 
that they should accordingly be supplied with masters who 
are better acquainted with heavenly than with earthly things. 

27. Let us conclude, therefore, with the angelic words : 
" In the place wherein the highest beginneth to show 
his city, there can no man's building be able to stand " 
(2 Esdras x. 54). As God wishes us to be trees of 
righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be 
glorified (Isaiah Ixi. 3), we should not allow our children 
to be shrubs in the plantation of Aristotle, or of Plato, or 
of Plautus, or of Cicero, or of any author whose works they 
may chance to read : " Every plant, which my heavenly 
Father planted not, shall be rooted up" (Matt. xv. 13); 
" Tremble therefore, ye who cease not to murmur, and to 
exalt yourselves against the knowledge of God " (2 Cor. x. 5). 



CHAPTER XXVI 

OF SCHOOL DISCIPLINE 

I, There is a proverb in Bohemia, "A school without dis- 
cipline is like a mill without water," and this is very true. 
For, if you withdraw the water from a mill, it stops, and, 
in the same way, if you deprive a school of discipline, you 
take away from it its motive power. A field also, if it be 
never ploughed, produces nothing but weeds ; and trees, 
if not continually pruned, revert to their wild state and 
bear no fruit. .It must not be thought, however, that we 
wish our schools to resound with shrieks and with blows. 
What we demand is vigilance and attention on the part of 
the master and of the pupils. For discipline is nothing 
but an unfailing method by which we may make our 
scholars, scholars in reality. 

2. As regards discipline, therefore, it is advisable that 
the educator of youth know its object, its subject-matter, 
and the various forms which it may assume, since he will 
then know why, when, and how, systematised severity is 
to be used. 

3. We may start with the incontestable proposition that J 
punishment should be employed towards those who err. j 
' But it is not because they have erred that they should be N 
k punished (for what has been done cannot be undone), but y 

in order that they may not err again in the future. Dis- 
cipline should therefore be free from personal elements, 
such as anger or dislike, and should be exercised with such 
frankness and sincerity of purpose, that even the pupils 

349 



250 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

may feel that the action taken is for their good, and that 
those set over them are but exercising paternal authority. 
They will thus regard it in the same light as a bitter 
draught prescribed for them by the doctor. 

4. Now no discipline of a severe kind should be exer- 
cised in connection with studies or literary exercises, but, 
only where questions of morality are at stake. For, as 
we have already shown, studies, if they are properly 
organised, form in themselves a sufficient attraction, and 
entice all (with the exception of monstrosities) by their 
inherent pleasantness. If this be not the case, the fault 1 
lies, not with the pupil, but with the master, and, if our 
skill is unable to make an impression on the understanding, .. 
our blows will have no effect. Indeed, by any application 
of force we are far more likely to produce a distaste for 
letters than a love for them. Whenever, therefore, we see 
that a mind is diseased and dislikes study, we should try 
to remove its indisposition by gentle remedies, but should 
on no account employ violent ones. The very sun in the 
heavens gives us a lesson on this point. In early spring, 
when plants are young and tender, he does not scorch 
them, but warms and invigorates them by slow degrees, 
not putting forth his full heat until they are full-grown and 
bring forth fruit and seeds. The gardener proceeds on 
the same principle, and does not apply the pruning-knife 
to plants that are immature. In the same way a musician 
does not strike his lyre a blow with his fist or with a stick, 
nor does he throw it against the wall, because it produces 
a discordant sound; but, setting to work on scientific 
principles, he tunes it and gets it into order. Just such 
a skilful and sympathetic treatment is necessary to instil a 
love of learning into the minds of our pupils, and any 
other procedure will only convert their idleness into anti- 
pathy and their lack of interest into downright stupidity. 

5. If, however, some stimulus be found necessary, better 
means than blows can be found. Sometimes a few severe 
words or a reprimand before the whole class is very effica- 
cious, while sometimes a little praise bestowed on the others 



OF SCHOOL DISCIPLINE 251 

has great effect. " See how well so-and-so attends ! See 
how quickly he sees each point ! While you sit there like 
a stone ! " It is often of use to laugh at the backward 
ones. " You silly fellow, can't you understand such a 
simple matter ? " Weekly, or at any rate monthly, contests 
for the first place in class may also be introduced, as we 
have shown elsewhere. Great care, however, should be 
taken that these experiments do not degenerate into a 
mere amusement, and thus lose their force ; since, if they 
are to act as a stimulus to industry, they must be backed 
on the part of the pupil by a love of praise and a dislike 
of blame or of losing his place in class. It is therefore 
absolutely essential that the master be always in the room, 
that he throw a good deal of energy into his work, and 
that he scold the idlers and praise the hard-working boys 
before the whole class. 

6. Only in the case of moral delinquencies may a 
severer discipline be used: (i) as, for instance, in the 
case of impiety of any kind, such as blasphemy, obscenity, 
or any other open offence against God's law. (2) In the 
case of stubbornness and premeditated misbehaviour, such 
as disobeying the master's orders, or the conscious neglect 
of duty. (3) In the case of pride and disdain, or even of 
envy and idleness ; as, for example, if a boy refuse to give 
a schoolfellow assistance when asked to do so. 

7. For offences of the first kind are an insult to God's 
majesty. Those of the second kind undermine the founda- 
tion of all virtue, namely, humility and obedience. While 
those of the third kind prevent any rapid progress in 
studies. An offence against God is a crime, and should be 
expiated by an extremely severe punishment. An offence 
against man is iniquitous, and such a tendency should be 
promptly and sternly corrected. But an offence against 
Priscian is a stain that may be wiped out by the sponge of 
blame. In a word, the object of discipline should be to 
stir us up to revere God, to assist our neighbours, and to 
perform the labours and duties of life with alacrity. 

8. The sun in the. heavens teaches us the best form of 



252 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

discipline, since to all things that grow it ministers (i) 
light and heat, continuously; (2) rain and wind, fre- 
quently ; (3) lightning and thunder, but seldom ; although 
these latter are not wholly without their use. 

g. It is by imitating this that the master should try to 
keep his pupils up to their work. 

(i) He should give them frequent examples of the con- 
duct that they should try to imitate, and should point to 
himself as a living example. Unless he does this, all his 
work will be in vain. 

(2) He may employ advice, exhortation, and sometimes 
blame, but should take great care to make his motive clear 
and to show unmistakably that his actions are based on 
paternal affection, and are destined to build up the char- 
acters of his pupils and not to crush them. Unless the 
pupil understands this and is fully persuaded of it, he will 
despise all discipline and will deliberately resist it. 

(3) Finally, if some characters are unaffected by gentle 
methods, recourse must be had to more violent ones, and 
every means should be tried before any pupil is pronounced 
impossible to teach. Without doubt there are many to 
whom the proverb, " Beating is the only thing that 
improves a Phrygian,'" applies with great force. And it is 
certain that, even if such measures do not produce any 
great effect on the boy who is punished, they act as a 
great stimulus to the others by inspiring them with fear. 
We should take great care, however, not to use these 
extreme measures too readily, or too zealously, as, if we 
do, we may exhaust all our resources before the extreme 
case of insubordination which they were intended to meet, 
arises. 

10. In short, the object of discipline should be to con- 
firm those who are being trained up for God and for the 
Church, in that disposition which God demands in His sons, 
the pupils in the school of Christ, so that they may rejoice 
with trembling (Psalm ii. 11), and looking to their own 
salvation may rejoice always in the Lord (Phil. ii. 4 and 10), 
that is to say, that they may love and reverence their 



OF SCHOOL DISCIPLINE 253 

masters, and not merely allow themselves to be led in the 
right direction, but actually tend towards it of their own 
accord. 

This training of the character can only be accomplished 
in the above-mentioned ways : by good example, by gentle 
words, and by continually taking a sincere and undisguised 
interest in the pupil. Sudden bursts of anger should only 
be used in exceptional circumstances, and then with the 
intention that renewed good feeling shall be the result. 

11. For (to give one more example) did any one ever 
see a goldsmith produce a work of art by the use of the 
hammer alone ? Never. It is easier to cast such things 
than to beat them out, and, if any excrescence have to be 
removed, it is not by violent blows that the artificer gets 
rid of it, but by a series of gentle taps, or by means of a 
file or a pair of forceps ; while he completes the operation 
by polishing and smoothing his work. And do we believe 
that irrational force will enable us to produce intelligent 
beings, images of the living God ? 

12. A fisherman, too, who catches fish in deep waters 
with a drag-net, not only fastens on pieces of lead to 
sink it, but also attaches corks to the other end of it, that 
it may rise to the surface of the water. In the same way 
whoever wishes to ensnare the young in the nets of virtue, 
must, on the one hand, humble and abase them by 
severity, and, on the other, exalt them by gentleness 
and affection. Happy are the masters who can combine 
these two extremes ! Happy are the boys who find such 
masters ! 

13. Here we may quote the opinion which that great 
man, Eilhard Lubinus, doctor of theology, has expressed 
on the reform of schools in the preface to his edition of 
the New Testament in Greek, Latin, and German — 

" The second point is this : the young should never 
be compelled to do anything, but their tasks should be of 
such a kind and should be set them in such a way that 
they will do them of their own accord, and take pleasure 
in them. I am therefore of opinion that rods and blows. 



254 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

those weapons of slavery, are quite unsuitable to freemen, 
and should never be used in schools, but should be 
reserved for boys of an abnormal and servile disposition. 
Such boys are easily recognised and must be removed 
from the school at once, on account both of the sluggish- 
ness of their disposition and of the depravity that is 
generally found in conjunction with it. Besides, any 
knowledge that they may acquire will be employed for 
wicked purposes, and will be like a sword in the hands of 
a madman. There are, however, other kinds of punish- 
ment suitable for boys who are free-born and of normal 
disposition, and these we may employ." 



CHAPTER XXVII 

OF THE FOURFOLD DIVISION OF SCHOOLS, BASED ON AGE 
AND ACQUIREMENTS 



ii 



I. Artisans are accustomed to fix certain limits of time for,, 
the training of an apprentice (two, three, or seven years), 
according to the case or difficulty of the trade. Within i 
these limits a complete training can be had, and those ' 
apprentices who have completed the course become, 
first, journeymen, and then master-workmen. The same 
system must be adopted in school organisation, and 
distinct periods of time must be mapped out for the 
acquirement of arts, sciences, and languages respectively. 
In this way we may cover the whole range of human 
knowledge within a certain number of years, and may 
possess true learning, true morality, and true piety by the 
time we leave the forging-places of humanity. 

2. In order that this goal may be reached, the whole 
period of youth must be devoted to the cultivation of the 
intellect (and by this we do not mean that one art only, 
but that all the liberal arts and all the sciences should 
be acquired). The process should begin in infancy and 
should continue until the age of manhood is reached ; and 
this space of twenty-four years should be divided into well- 
defined periods. In this we must follow the lead of 
nature. For experience shows that a man's body con- 
tinues to grow up to his twenty-fifth year, and that after 
this it only increases in strength ; and we must conclude 
that this slow rate of increase has been accorded to man 

255 



2s6 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

r-^ . — 

~by the forethought of God (for the larger bodies of animals 
attain their full growth in a few months, or in a couple of 
years at most) that he may have the more time to prepare 
himself for the duties of life. 

3. The whole period, therefore, must be divided into 
four distinct grades : infancy, childhood, boyhood, and 
youth, and to each grade six years and a special school 
should be assigned. 



I. 


For infancy 1 


r the 


"j The mother's knee. 


11. 


For childhood J 


school 


The Vernacular-School. 


Ill, 


For boyhood | 


1 should 


The Latin-School or Gymnasium. 


IV.- 


For youth ' 


[ be 


The University and travel. 



A Mother-School should exist in every house, a Ver- 
nacular School in every hamlet and village, a Gymnasium 
in every city, and a University in every kingdom or in 
every province. 

4. These different schools are not to deal with different 
subjects, but should treat the same subjects in different 
ways, giving instruction in all that can produce true men, 
true Christians, and true scholars ; throughout graduating 
the instruction to the age of the pupil and the knowledge 
that he already possesses. For, according to the laws of ^ 
this natural method, the various branches of study should 
not be separated, but should be taught simultaneously, 
just as the various parts of a tree increase together at ever^ 
period of its growth. 

5. The difference between these schools is threefold. 
Firstly, in the earlier schools everything is taught in a 
general and undefined manner, while in those that follow 
the information is particularised and exact ; just as a tree 
puts forth more branches and shoots each successive year, 
and grows stronger and more fruitful. 

6. Secondly, in the Mother-School the extern al senses 
should be exercised and taught to distinguish the objects 
that surround them. In the Vernacular-School, the interfl p.1 
senses, the jnjagination and the memor y, in combmation 
with their cognate organs, should be trained, and this 



OF THE FOURFOLD DIVISION OF SCHOOLS 257 

by reading, writing, painting, singing, counting, measuring, 
weighing, and committing various things t o memory. In the 
Latin-School the pupil should be trained to 'understand 
and pass j udgmen t on the information collected~b5r-the 
senses, and this by means of dialectic, grammar, rhetoric, 
and the other sciences and arts that are based on principles 
of causation. Finally, to the University belong those 
subjects that have special relation to the will, namely, the 
faculties, of which theology teaches us to restore harmony 
to the soul ; philosophy, to the mind ; medicine, to the vital 
functions of the body ; and jurisprudence, to our external 
affairs. 

7. Our faculties are best developed in the following 
manner. The objects should first be placed before the 
organs of sense on which they act. Then the internal 
senses should acquire the habit of expressing in their turn 
the images that result from the external sensation, both 
internally by means of the faculty of recollection, and 
externally with the hand and tongue. At this stage the 
mind can begin to operate, and, by the processes of exact 
thought, can compare and estimate all objects of knowledge. 
In this way an acquaintance with nature and a sound 
judgment may be obtained. Last of all, the will (which is 
the guiding principle in man) makes its power felt in all 
directions. To attempt to cultivate the will before the 
intellect (or the intellect before the imagination, or the 
imagination before the faculty of sense perception) is mere 
waste of time. But this is what those do who teach boys 
logic, poetry, rhetoric, and ethics before they are thoroughly 
acquainted with the objects that surround them. It would 
be equally sensible to teach boys of two years old to dance, 
though they can scarcely walk. Let our maxim be to 
follow the lead of nature in all things, to observe how the 
faculties develope one after the other, and to base our 
method on this principle of succession. 

8. A third difference between the schools is this. The 
Mother-School and the Vernacular-School embrace all the 
young of both sexes. The Latin-School gives a more 

17 



258 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

thorough education to those who aspire higher than the 
workshop ; while the University trains up the teachers and 
learned men of the future, that our churches, schools, and 
states may never lack suitable leaders. 

9. These four classes of schools may be compared to 
the four seasons of the year. The Mother-School recalls 
the gentle spring, filled with the varied scent of flowers. 
The Vernacular-School represents the summer that spreads 
before our eyes its full ears and early fruit. The Latin- 
School corresponds to autumn, for here the fruit in the 
fields and vineyards is collected and stored away in the 
granaries of our mind. And last of all, the University may 
be compared to the winter, when we prepare for various 
uses the fruit already collected, that we may have sufficient 
to sustain us for the rest of our lives. 

10. Our method of education may also be compared to 
the various stages in the growth of a tree. The boys who 
are six years of age and are tenderly cared for by their 
parents are like shoots that have been carefully planted, 
have taken root, and are beginning to put forth buds. At 
twelve years of age they are like a young tree that is 
covered with branches and buds, though it is as yet 
uncertain how these will develope. At eighteen years of 
age, youths well instructed in languages and arts are like 
trees covered with blossoms that are pleasant to see and 
to smell, and at the same time give promise of fruit. And 
finally, at twenty-four or twenty-five years of age, young 
men, who have been thoroughly educated at a university, 
resemble a tree covered with fruit that can be plucked and 
used when it is required. 

But we must now examine the several stages in detail. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

SKETCH OF THE MOTHER-SCHOOL 

I. It is when it first comes into being that a tree puts 
forth the shoots that are later on to be its principal 
branches, and it is in this first school that we must plant 
in a man the seeds of all the knowledge with which we 
wish him to be equipped in his journey through life. A 
brief survey of the whole of knowledge will show the 
possibility of this, and this survey can easily be made if 
w e bring everything .under twenty headings . ' 

2. (i.) Metaphysic (as it is called)"should certainly be 
our starting-point, since the first conceptions that children 
have are general and confused. They see, hear, taste, 
and touch, but are ignorant of the exact object of their 
sensations. They commence, therefore, by learning the 
general concepts : something, nothing, it is, it is not, 
thus, otherwise, where, when, like, unlike, etc., and these 
are nothing but the prime concepts of metaphysic. 

3. (ii.) In physics, a boy, during the first six years of 
his life, can be brought to know what are water, earth, air, 
fire, rain, snow, frost, stone, iron, trees, grass, birds, fishes, 
oxen, etc. He may also learn the names and uses of the 
members of his body, or at any rate of the external ones. 
At this age these things are easily learned, and pave the 
way for natural science. 

4. (iii.) A boy learns the elements of optics when he 
begins to distinguish and to call by their names light, dark- 
ness, and shade, and to know the difference between the 
principal colours, white, black, red, etc. 

259 



26o THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

5. (iv.) The rudiments of astronomy will consist in 
knowing what is meant by the heavens, the sun, the moon, 
and the stars, and in watching their rising and their 
setting daily. 

6. (v.) We know the elements of geography when we 
learn the nature of mountains, valleys, plains, rivers, 
villages, citadels, or states, according to the situation of 
the place in which we are brought up. 

7. (vi.) The basis of chronology is laid, if the boy under- 
stand what is meant by an hour, a day, a week, or a year ; 
or what summer and winter are; or the signification of 
the terms "yesterday," "the day before yesterday," "to- 
morrow," " the day after to-morrow," etc. 

8. (vii.) The commencement of history consists in re- 
collecting and reporting what has recently happened, or 
how this or that person has carried out this or that matter ; 
though this exercise should only relate to some incident 
in the child's life. 

9. (viii.) The seeds of arithmetic will be planted if the 
child understand what is meant by "much" and "little," 
can count up to ten, can see that three are more than 
two, and that one added to three makes four. 

10. (ix.) He will possess the elements of geometry if he 
know what we mean by " large " and " small," " long " 
and "short," "broad" and "narrow," "thick" and 
" thin " ; what we signify by a line, a cross, or a circle, 
and how we measure objects in feet and yards. 

11. (x.) The elements of statics will have been learned 
if the children see objects weighed in scales, or acquire the 
power of telling the approximate weight of objects by 
weighing them in their hands. 

12. (xi.) They will receive a training in mechanics if 
they are permitted or are actually taught to employ their 
hands continually; for instance, to move something from one 
place to another, to arrange something else in one way or 
another, to construct something, or to pull something to 
pieces, to make knots or to undo them, and so forth ; the 
very things that children of this age love to do. As these 



SKETCH OF THE MOTHER-SCHOOL 261 

actions are nothing but the efforts of an active mind to 
realise itself in mechanical production, they should not be 
hindered, but rather encouraged and skilfully guided. 

13. (xii.) The elements of the process of reasoning, 
namely dialectic, are learned when the child observes that 
conversations are carried on by means of question and 
answer, and himself acquires the habit of asking and 
answering questions. He should, however, be taught to 
ask sensible questions and to give direct answers, and also 
not to wander from the point at issue. 

14. (xiii.) The grammar of childhood consists in learn- 
ing to speak the mother-tongue correctly, that is to say, 
in pronouncing with distinctness the letters, syllables, and 
words. 

1 5. (xiv.) The beginnings of rhetoric consist in imitating 
the figures of speech that occur in family conversation, but 
more especially in the appropriate use of gesture, and in 
inflecting the voice so as to suit the words ; that is to 
say, the voice should be raised on the ,last syllables of 
words, in asking questions, and lowered in answering 
them. This and similar points are acquired naturally, but 
a little instruction is of great assistance if any mistakes 
are made. 

16. (xv.) Children may get some notion of poetry by 
learning a number of verses off by heart, for preference 
those that contain some moral sentiment. 

17. (xvi.) They will take their first steps in music by 
learning easy hymns and psalms. This exercise should 
form part of their daily devotions. 

18. (xvii.) The rudiments of economics are acquired 
when the child learns the names of the various members of 
a family, that is to say, what is meant by the terms father, 
mother, maid-servant, man-servant, etc. ; or the various 
parts of a house, as hall, kitchen, bedroom, stable; or 
the names of domestic utensils, as table, plate, knife, 
broom, etc. 

19. (xviii.) It is not so easy to give a foretaste of 
politics, as at this age the understanding is only sufficiently 



262 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

developed to take in household affairs. Some attempt, 
however, may be made. It may be pointed out, for 
instance, that, in a state, some men meet together in a 
council-chamber and are called councillors, and that of 
these some are called members, others ministers, others 
lawyers, and so forth. 

20. (xix.) But it is o f morals (ethics ), in particular, that 
the foundations should be solidly laid, for to a well-educated 
youth we wish the practice of virtue to be second nature. 
For instance, 

(i) Temperance should be practised by never over- 
filling the stomach, and by never taking more food than is 
necessary to appease hunger and thirst. 

(2) Cleanliness should be practised at meals, and in 
the treatment of clothes, dolls, and toys. 

(3) Reverence should be shown by the child to his 
superiors. 

(4) Obedience to both commands and prohibitions 
should always be willing and prompt. 

(5) Truth should always be religiously observed. False- 
hood and deceit should never be permitted, whether in 
jest or in earnest (for jests of this kind may degenerate 
into a serious evil). 

(6) They will learn justice if they never touch, take, 
keep, or hide anything that belongs to any one else, if they 
annoy no one, and envy no one. 

(7) It is of greater importance that they learn to 
practise charity, so that they may be ready to give alms to 
those whom need compels to ask for them. For love is the 
especial virtue of Christians. Christ bids us practise it ; 
and, now that the world is growing aged and cold, it is 
greatly to the interest of the Church to kindle in men's 
hearts the flame of love. 

(8) Children should also be taught to occupy themselves 
continually, either with work or with play, so that idleness 
may become intolerable to them. 

(9) They should be taught to speak but little and to 
refrain from saying all that rises to their lips, nay, even to 



SKETCH OF THE MOTHER-SCHOOL 263 

maintain absolute siknce when the occasion demands it ; 
that is to say, when others are speaking, when any dis- 
tinguished person is present, and when the circumstances 
demand silence. 

(10) It is also important that they learn patience in 
infancy, since this will be of use to them throughout their 
whole lives. In this way the passions may be subdued 
before they acquire strength, while reason, and not impulse, 
will gain the upper hand. 

(11) Politeness and readiness to help others is a great 
ornament of youth, and, indeed, of every age. This also 
should be learned in the first six years, that our youths may 
lose no opportunity of rendering services to those whom 
they meet. 

(12) Nor must we omit to train them in good manners, 
that they may do nothing stupidly or boorishly. To this 
end they should learn the manners of polite society ; such 
as how to shake hands, how to make a modest request 
when they want anything, and how to bend the knee and 
kiss the hand gracefully when returning thanks for a 
kindness. 

21. (xx.) Finally, by the time they are six years old, 
boys should have made considerable progress in religion and 
piety ; that is to say, they should have learned the heads 
of the Catechism and the principles of Christianity, and 
should understand these and live up to them as far as their 
age permits. Thus, by realising that the Deity is ever 
present, by seeing God around them, and by fearing Him 
as the just avenger of the wicked, they will be prevented 
from committing any sinful act; while by loving, reverencing, 
and praising in Him the just recompenser of the righteous, 
and by seeking for His compassion in life and in death, 
they will be led to omit no righteous act that they think 
may please Him, will acquire the habit of living as if they 
were in God's presence, and (as the Scripture saith) will 
walk with God. 

22. We shall thus be able to apply to Christian children 
the words that the Evangelist uses of Christ Himself: 



264 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

" He advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favour with 
God and men" (Luke ii. 52). 

23. We have now described the limits and the tasks of 
the Mother-School.^^ It is impossible to give a more detailed 
account, or a time-table stating how much work should be 
done in each year, month, and day (as is both possible and 
desirable in the Vernacular-School and in the Latin-School), 
for two reasons : firstly, because it is not possible for 
parents, who have their household duties to occupy them, 
to proceed as methodically as a schoolmaster can, whose 
sole occupation is to instruct youth ; secondly, because, 
in respect of intellect and teachableness, some children 
develope much sooner than others. Some children of two 
years old can speak with ease, and display great intelligence, 
while others are scarcely equal to them when five years old. 
With this early education, therefore, all detail must be left 
to the prudence of the parent. 

24. Assistance, however, may be given in two ways. 
In the first place, a hand-book should be written for 
parents and nurses, that they may have their duties in 
black and white before their eyes. This hand-book should 
contain a brief description of the various subjects in which 
the children should be educated, and should state the 
occasions that are most suitable for each, and with what 
words and what gestures it is best to instil them. Such a 
book with the title, " Informatory of the Mother-School," 
has still to be written by me. 

25. The other aid to study in the Mother-School is a 
picture-book which should be put straight into the child's 
hands. At this age instruction should mainly be carried 
on through the medium of sense-perception, and, as sight 
is the chiefest of the senses, our object will be attained if we 
give the children pictures of the most important objects in 
physics, optics, astronomy, geometry, etc., and these may 
be arranged in the order of the subjects of knowledge that 
we have just sketched. In this book should be depicted 
mountains, valleys, trees, birds, fishes, horses, oxen, sheep, 
and men of varied age and height. Light and darkness 



SKETCH OF THE MOTHER-SCHOOL 265 

also should be represented, as well as the heavens with the 
sun, moon, stars, and clouds, while to these the principal 
colours should be added. Articles connected with the 
house and the workshop, such as pots, plates, hammers, 
pincers, etc., should not be omitted. State functionaries 
should be represented; the king with his sceptre and crown, 
the soldier with his arms, the husbandman with his plough, 
the waggoner with his waggon, and the post-cart going at 
full speed ; while over each picture should be written the 
name of the object that it represents, as "house," "ox," 
"dog," "tree," etc. 

26. This picture-book will be of use in three ways : (i) 
It will assist objects to make an impression on the mind, as 
we have already pointed out. (2) It will accustom the little 
ones to the idea that pleasure is to be derived from books. 
(3) It will aid them in learning to read. For, since the 
name of each object is written above the picture that 
represents it, the first steps in reading may thus be made. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

SKETCH OF THE VERNACULAR-SCHOOL 

I. In chap. ix. I demonstrated that all the young of both 
sexes should be sent to the public schools, I now add that 
they should first be sent to the Vernacular-School. Some 
writers hold the contrary opinion. Zepper ^^ {Pol. bk. i. 
ch. 7) and Alsted *" (Scholastic, ch. 6) would persuade us 
that only those boys and girls who are destined for manual 
labour should be sent to the Vernacular-School, while boys 
whose parents wish them to receive a higher education 
should be sent straight to the Latin-School. Moreover, 
Alsted adds : " Some will doubtless disagree with me, but 
the system that I propose is the one which I would wish 
adopted by those whose educational interests I have most 
' at heart." From this view my whole didactic system forces 
me to dissent. 

2. (i.) The education that I propose includes all that is 
proper for a man, and is one in which all men who are 
/born into this world should share. All therefore, as far as 
!is_gossible, should be educated together, that they may 
sjiBmlat g"and_tlrge OH "one ano then 

(ii.) We wish all" men to be trained in all the virtues, 
especially in modesty, sociability, and politeness, and it is 
therefore undesirable to create class distinctions at such an 
early age, or to give some children the opportunity of con- 
; sidering their own lot with satisfaction and that of others 
jwith scorn. 

> (iii.) When boys are only six years old, it is too early to 

266 



SKETCH OF THE VERNACULAR-SCHOOL 267 

determine their vocation in life, or whether they are more / 
suited for learning or for manual labour. At this age, 
neither the mind nor the inclinations are sufficiently 
developed, while, later on, it will be easy to form a sound 
opinion on both. In the same way, while plants are quite ( 
small, a gardener cannot tell which to hoe up and which to 
leave, but has to wait until they are more advanced. Nor, 
should admission to the Latin-School be reserved for the 
sons of rich men, nobles, and magistrates, as if these were " 
the only boys who would ever be able to fill similar positions. \ 
The wind blows where it will, and does not always begin ; 
to blow at a fixed time. 

3. (iv.) The next reason is that my universal method has 
not as its sole object the Latin language, that nymph on 
whom such unbounded admiration is generally wasted, 
but seeks a way by which each modern language may be 
taught as well (that every spirit may praise the Lord more 
and more). This design should not be frustrated by the | 
complete and arbitrary omission of the Vernacular-School. 

4. (v.) To attempt to teach a foreign language before the 
mother-tongue has been learned is as irrational as to teach 
a boy to ride before he can walk. To proceed step by 
step is of great importance, as we have seen in chap. xvi. 
Principle 4. Cicero declared that he could not teach 
elocution to those who were unable to speak, and, in the 
same way, my method confesses its inability to teach Latin 
to those who are ignorant of their mother-tongue, since the - 
one paves the way for the other. __ 

I 5. (vi.) Finally, what I have in view is an education in the 

I objects that surround us, and a brief survey of this educa- 

/ tion can be best obtained from books written in the mother- 

I tongue, which embody a list of the things that exist in 

the external world. This preliminary survey will render the 

acquisition of Latin far easier, for it will only be necessary 

to adapt a new nomenclature to objects that are already 

known ; while to the knowledge of actual facts may be added 

by degrees that of the causes which underlie those facts. 

6. Proceeding, therefore, on the basis of my fourfold 



268 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

'\division of schools, we may define the Vernacular-School 
as follows. The aim and object of the Vernacular-School 
should be to teach to all the young, between the ages of 
six and twelve, such things as will be of use to them 
throughout their whole lives. That is to say : 

(i.) To read with ease both print and writing in their 
mother-tongue. 

(ii.) To write, first with accuracy, then with speed, and 
finally with confidence, in accordance with the gramma- 
tical rules of the mother-tongue. These rules should be 
written in a popular form, and the boys should be exercised 
in them. 

(iii.) To count, with ciphers and with counters, as far as 
is necessary for practical purposes. 

(iv.) To measure spaces, such as length, breadth, and 
distance, with skill. 

(v.) To sing well-known melodies, and, in the case of 
those who display especial aptitude, to learn the elements 
of advanced music. 

(vi.) To learn by heart the greater number of the psalms 
and hymns that are used in the country. For, if brought 
up in the praise of God, they will be able (as the Apostle 
says) to exhort one another with psalms and hymns and 
spiritual songs, singing to God from their hearts. 

(vii.) Besides the Catechism they should know the most 
important stories and verses in the Bible, and should be 
able to repeat them word for word. 

(viii.) They should learn the principles of morality, which 
should be drawn up in the shape of rules and accom- 
panied by illustrations suitable to the age and understand- 
ing of the pupils. They should also begin to put these 
principles into practice. 

(ix.) They should learn as much economics and politics 
as is necessary to enable them to understand what they 
see daily at home and in the state. 

(x.) They should also learn the general history of the 
world ; its creation, its fall, its redemption, and its pre- 
servation by God up to the present day. 



SKETCH OF THE VERNACULAR-SCHOOL 269 

(xi.) In addition, they should learn the most important 
facts of cosmography, such as the spherical shape of the 
heavens, the globular shape of the earth suspended in 
their midst, the tides of the ocean, the shapes of seas, 
the courses of rivers, the principal divisions of the earth, 
and the chief kingdoms of Europe j but, in particular, the 
cities, mountains, rivers, and other remarkable features of 
their own country. 

(xii.) Finally, they should learn the most important 
principles of the mechanical arts, both that they may not 
be too ignorant of what goes on in the world around them, 
and that any special inclination towards things of this kind 
may assert itself with greater ease later on. 

7. If all these subjects have been skilfully handled in 
the Vernacular-School, the result will be that those youths 
who begin the study of Latin or who enter on agriculture, 
trade, or professional life will encounter nothing which is 
absolutely new to them ; while the details of their trades, 
the words that they hear in church, and the information 
that they acquire from books, will be to them nothing but 
the more detailed exposition or the more particular appli- 
cation of facts with which they are already acquainted. 
They will thus find themselves all the fitter to use their 
understanding, their powers of action, and their judgment. 

8. To attain this result we employ the following 
means : — 

(i.) All the children in the Vernacular-School, who are 
destined to spend six years there, should be divided into— 
six classes, each of which, if possible, should have a class- C 
room to itself, that it may not hinder the others. 

(ii.) Specially prepared books should be supplied to 
each class, and these should contain the whole subject- 
matter of the literary, moral, and religious instruction 
prescribed for the class. Within these limits no other 
books should be needed, and, by their aid, the desired 
result should infallibly be obtained. They should embody 
a complete grammar of the mother-tongue, in which should 
be comprised the names of all the objects that children of 



270 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

this age can understand, as well as a selection of the most 
common phrases in use. 

/■ 9. These class-books should be six in number, corre- 
sponding to the number of the classes, and should dififer, not 
in their subject-matter, but in their way of presenting it. 
Each should embrace all the above-mentioned subjects ; 
but the earlier ones should treat of them in a general 
manner, choosing their better known and easier features ; 
while those which come later should draw attention to the 
less known and more complex details, or should point 
out some fresh way of treating the subject, and thus excite 
interest and attention. The truth of this will soon be 
evident. 

10. Care must be taken to suit all these books to the 
children for whom they are intended ; for children like 
whimsicality and humour, and detest pedantry and severity. 
Instruction, therefore, should ever be combined with 
amusement, that they may take pleasure in learning 
serious things which will be of genuine use to them later 
on, and that their dispositions may be, as it were, perpetu- 
ally enticed to develope in the manner desired. 

1 1. The titles of these books should be of such a kind 
as to please and attract the young, and should at the same 
time express the nature of their contents. Suitable names 
might be borrowed from the nomenclature of a garden, 
that sweetest possession of youth. Thus, if the whole 
school be compared to a garden, the book of the lowest 
class might be called the violet-bed, that of the second class 
the rose-bed, that of the third the grass-plot, and so on. 

1 2. Of the matter and form of these books I will speak 
in greater detail elsewhere. I will only add that, as they 
are written in the mother-tongue, the technical terms of 
the arts should also be expressed in the vernacular, and 
not in Latin or Greek. For (i) we wish the young to 
make progress with as little delay as possible. Now foreign 
terms must necessarily be explained before they are under- 
stood, and, even when explained, are not properly under- 
stood, but are thought to have no meaning apart from 



SKETCH OF THE VERNACULAR-SCHOOL 271 

their technical signification. In addition, they are difficult 
to remember. On the other hand, if the vernacular terms 
are used, it is only necessary to point out the object desig- 
nated by each term. In this way we wish to remove all 
delays and difficulties from the path of this elementary 
instruction. (2) Besides this, we wish to cultivate and 
improve the vernacular languages, and this is to be done, 
not by imitating the French, who incorporate Greek and 
Latin words that the people cannot understand (for which 
practice Stevin blames them), but by expressing our meaning 
in terms which can be understood by everybody. Stevin *'^ 
gave the same advice to the Belgians {Geog. bk. i.), and 
carried it into effect in his work on mathematics. 

13. But it may be objected that all languages are not 
rich enough to supply suitable equivalents for Greek and 
Latin terms; that even if this were done, the learned 
would not relinquish their use ; and, lastly, that those 
boys who are going to learn Latin had better begin at 
this stage, and so avoid the necessity of learning fresh 
technical terms later on. \ 

14. I reply : If any language be obscure, or insufficient \ 
to express necessary ideas, this is the fault, not of the 
language, but of those who use it. The Romans and 
Greeks had originally to form the words that are now 
in use, and these words seemed so obscure and so rude 
that their authors were uncertain if they could ever serve 
as a vehicle for thought. But now that they are uni- 
versally accepted they prove sufficiently expressive. As 
an illustration of what I mean, take the terms " essence," 
"substance," "accident," "quality," "quantity," etc. No,' 
language, therefore, need lack words unless men lack/ 
industry. 

15. As for the second objection; let the learned retain 
their own terms. We are now seeking a way by which the 
common people may be led to understand and take an 
interest in the Uberal arts and sciences ; and with this end 
in view we must not speak in a language that is foreign to 
them, and that is in itself artificial. 



272 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

1 6. And lastly, those boys who have to learn Latin 
later on will find it no disadvantage to know the technical 
terms in their mother- tongue, nor will it prove any 
hindrance to them that they praised God in their own 
language before doing so in Latin. 

17. The third requisite is an easy method of introduc- 
ing these books to the young, and of this we will give a 
brief sketch in the following rules : 

(i.) The class lessons should not exceed four daily, of 
which two should be before mid-day, and two after. The 
remaining hours of the day may profitably be spent in 
domestic work (especially among the poor), or in some 
form of recreation. 

(ii.) The morning should be devoted to the exercise of 
the intellect and the memory, the afternoon to that of the 
hand and the voice. 

(iii.) In the morning the master shall read over the 
lesson for the hour several times, while the whole class 
attends, and shall explain anything that needs explanation 
in simple language, and in such a way that it cannot but 
be understood. He shall then bid the boys read it in turn, 
and while one reads it in a clear voice the rest should 
attend and follow in their books. If this be continued for 
half an hour, or longer, the clever boys and at last even 
the stupid ones will try to repeat by heart what they have 
just read. For the tasks that are set must be short ; not 
too long for an hour's lesson, or too hard for the boys to 
understand. 

(iv.) No fresh work should be done in the afternoon, 
but the lessons done in the morning should be repeated. 
The pupils should transcribe portions of their printed books, 
and should compete with one another to see who can best 
remember the morning's lesson, or who is most proficient 
in writing, in singing, or in counting. 

18. Not without reason do we recommend that all 
the pupils copy their printed books as neatly as they 
can. (i) The manual exercise of copying will help to 
impress on their minds the matter copied. (2) If the 



SKETCH OF THE VERNACULAR-SCHOOL 273 

practice be made a daily one, it will teach them to write 
well, quickly, and accurately, and this will be of the greatest 
use in the further prosecution of their studies, and in con- 
ducting the affairs of life. (3) This will be the surest 
proof to parents that' their children are not wasting their 
time at school, and will enable them to judge how much 
progress they are making. 

19. We have no space to go into further particulars 
at present, and will only touch on one more point. If any 
boys are to learn foreign languages, they should learn them 
now, at about the age of ten, eleven, or twelve, that is to 
say, between the Vernacular-School and the Latin-School. 
The best way is to send them to the place where the 
language that they wish to learn is spoken, and in the new, 
language to make them read, write, and learn the class- 
books of the Vernacular-School (the subject-matter of which 
is already familiar to them). 



CHAPTER XXX 

SKETCH OF THE LATIN-SCHOOL 

I. In this school the pupils should learn four languages 
and acquire an encyclopBedic knowledge'^niyar ts. Those 
youths who have completed its'~wliole curriculum should 
have had a training as : 

(i.) Grammarians, who are well versed in Latin and in 
their mother-tongue, and have a sufficient acquaintance 
with Greek and Hebrew. 

(ii.) Dialecticians, who are well skilled in making defini- 
tions, in drawing distinctions, in arguing a point, and in 
solving hard questions. 

(iii.) Rhetoricians or orators, who can talk well on any 
given subject. 

(iv.) Arithmeticians, and (v.) geometricians; both on 
account of the use of these sciences in daily life, and because 

Sthey sharpen the intellect more than anything else, 
(vi.) Musicians, both practical and theoretical, 
(vii.) Astronomers, who have, at any rate, mastered the 
rudiments, such as the knowledge of the heavenly bodies, 
and the calculation of their movements, since without this 
science it is impossible to understand not only physics but 
also geography and a great part of history. 

2. The above are commonly known as the seven liberal 
arts, a knowledge of which is demanded from a doctor of 
philosophy. But our pupils must aim higher than this, and 
in addition must be : 

(viii.) Physicists, who know the composition of the earth, 
274 



SKETCH OF THE LATIN-SCHOOL 275 

the force of the elements, the different species of animals, 
the powers of plants and of minerals, and the structure of 
the human body, and who, besides knowing these things, 
can apply them to the various uses of life. Under this 
head is thus comprised a part of medicine, of agriculture, 
and of other mechanical arts. 

(ix.) Geographers, who are well acquainted with the ex- 
ternal features of the earth, and know the seas, the islands 
that are in them, the rivers, and the various kingdoms. 

(x.) Chronologers, who can fix periods of time, and trace 
the course of the centuries from the beginning of the world. 

(xi.) Historians, who possess a fair knowledge of the 
history of the human race, of the chief empires, and of the 
Church, and who know the various customs and fortunes 
of races and of men. 

(xii.) Moralists, who can draw fine distinctions between 
the various kinds of virtue and of vice, and who can follow 
the one and avoid the other. This knowledge they should 
possess both in its general form and in its special apphca- 
tion to the life of the family, of the state, and of the Church. 

(xiii.) Finally, we wish them to be theologians, who, 
besides understanding the principles of their faith, can also 
prove them from the Scriptures. 

3. When this course is finished, the youths, even if they 
have not a perfect knowledge of all these subjects (indeed 
at their age perfection is impossible, since experience is 
necessary to complete the theoretical knowledge that they 
have acquired, and the sea of learning cannot be exhausted 
in sbc years), should, at any rate, have laid a solid founda- 
tion for any more advanced instruction that they may 
receive in the future. 

4. For the curriculum of six years, six distinct classes 
will be necessary, the names of which, starting from the 
lowest, might be as follows : — 

(i.) The Grammar class, 
(ii.) The Natural Philosophy class. 
(iii.) The Mathematical class, 
(iv.) The Ethics class. 



276 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

(v.) The Dialectic class, 
(vi.) The Rhetoric class. 

5. I presume that no one can raise any objection to my 
placing grammar first, since it is the key of all knowledge ; 
but to those who are always guided by custom it may seem 
(Strange that_J_have ^ ^laced real studies be fore dialect ic 

ari^3P"^ No other aiiaugeiiient, however, is possible. 
It has already been shown that the study of facts must 
precede that of their combinations, that matter logically 
precedes its form, that this is the only method by which 
sure and rapid progress can be made, and that we must 
therefore learn our facts by observation before we can either 
pass a sound judgment on them, or enunciate them in 
well-turned phrases. A man may have the whole apparatus 
of logic and of eloquence at his fingers' ends, but of what 
value can his investigation or his proof be, if he be ignorant 
of the objects with which he is dealing ? It is as impossible 
to talk sensibly about matters with which we are not 
acquainted as it is for a virgin to bring forth a child. 
Things exist in themselves, and are quite independent of 
their relation to thought and to speech. But thought and 
speech have no meaning apart from things, and depend 
entirely upon them. Unless it refers to definite objects, 
speech is nothing but sound without sense, and it is there- 
fore absolutely necessary to give our pupils a thorough 
preliminary training in real studies. 

6. Though many have held the contrary opinion, it has 
been conclusively shown by learned writers that the study 
of natural philosophy should precede that of ethics. 

Lipsius,*^ in his Physiology, bk. i. chap, i., writes as 
follows : — 

"I am distinctly in agreement with the distinguished 
authorities who hold that natural philosophy should come 
first. Its study is productive of great pleasure, stimulates 
and retains the attention, and forms a suitable introduction 
to ethics." 

7. It is open to argument whether the Mathematical 
class should or should not precede the Natural Philosophy 



SKETCH OF THE LATIN-SCHOOL 277 

class. It was with the study of mathematics that the 
ancients commenced the investigation of nature, for which 
reason they gave them the name of "The Sciences"; while 
Plato forbade those who were ignorant of geometry to 
enter his Academy. Their reasons for holding this view 
are easy to understand, since the sciences that deal with 
number and quantity make a special appeal to the senses, 
and are therefore easy to grasp ; besides, they make a 
powerful impression on the imagination, and thus prepare 
the mind for studies of a more abstract nature. 

8. All this is very true, but we have some other con- 
siderations to take into account : (i) In the Vernacular- 
School we advised the education of the senses, and the 
development of the mind through their means, and as our 
pupils have by this time been through a course of arith- 
metic they can scarcely be considered quite ignorant of 
mathematics. (2) Our method advances step by step. 
Before proceeding to complex problems of magnitude, we 
should deal with bodies in the concrete, and thus prepare 
our minds to grasp more abstract notions. (3) The curricu- 
lum of the Mathematical class, as drawn up by us, embodies 
most of the arts, and these cannot be thoroughly mastered 
without some knowledge of natural philosophy. But 
indeed, if others suggest a different order, and justify their 
preference by theoretical or practical reasons, I have no 
wish to gainsay them. My own view is opposed to theirs, 
and I have given my reasons for it. 

g. As soon as a fair knowledge of Latin has been 
acquired (by the aid of the Vestibulum and the Janua, 
which are to be used in the first class), the pupils should 
be instructed in the science of first principles, commonly 
called metaphysics (though in my opinion it should be 
called prophysics or hypophysics, that is to say, ante- 
natural or sub-natural). For this science embraces the 
primary and the most important principles of existence, 
dealing with the essential hypotheses on which all things 
depend, their attributes, and their logical differences ; and 
includes the most general definitions, axioms, and laws of 



278 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

nature. When these are known (and by my method the 
task is an easy one), it will be possible to learn particulars 
and details with little effort, since, in a way, they will 
already be familiar, and nothing will be necessary but the 
application of general principles to particular instances. 
Immediately after this grounding in first principles, which 
should not occupy more than three months (for they will 
be speedily learned, being principles of pure reason and 
easily grasped by the mind), we may proceed to deal with 
the visible universe, that the marvels of nature (already set 
forth in the prophysic) may be demonstrated more and 
more clearly by particular examples. This will be sup- 
plied by the Natural Philosophy class. 

10. From the essential nature of things we proceed to 
the more exact investigation of their accidental properties, 
and this we call the Mathematical class. 

11. The pupils must next investigate man himself, 
viewed as a free agent and as the lord of creation. 
They must learn to notice what things are in our power, 
what are not, and how everything must submit to the in- 
flexible laws of the universe. 

This they will learn in the fourth year, in the Ethics 
class. But this must not consist of an historical course or 
of a mere statement of facts, as in the Vernacular-School. 
The reasons which underlie each fact must be given, that 
the pupils may acquire the habit of concentrating their 
attention on cause and effect. All controversial matter, 
however, must be carefully excluded from these first four 
classes, since we wish this to be reserved for the fifth class 
that follows. 

12. In the Dialectic class, after a brief training in the 
laws of reasoning, the pupils should go over the whole 
field of natural philosophy, mathematics, and ethics, and 
carefully investigate any weighty points that are usually 
discussed by learned men. This gives an opportunity for 
explaining the cause and the nature of the controversy, 
for distinguishing between the thesis and the antithesis, 
and for showing by what arguments, real or plausible, 



SKETCH OF THE LATIN-SCHOOL 279 

either may be controverted. The mistakes of the opposite 
side should then be exposed, and the cause of error and 
the fallacy of the arguments employed should be clearly 
shown ; while, if there be an element of truth on both 
sides, the conflicting arguments may be reconciled. The 
utility of this process will be great, as it will not only com- 
prise the recapitulation of facts already known, and illus- 
trate those that are less familiar, but will at the same time 
teach the art of reasoning, of investigating what is un- 
known, and explaining what is obscure, of simplifying 
ambiguity, limiting statements that are too general, defend- 
ing the truth with the weapons of truth, unmasking false- 
hood, and setting in order facts that are confused. 

13. Last of all comes the Rhetoric class. In this the 
pupils should be taught to make an easy and profitable 
use of all that they have hitherto learned, and here it will 
be seen that they have learned something and have not 
spent their time in vain. For, in accordance with the 
saying of Socrates, " Speak, that I may see your character," 
we must train them to speak well, now that we have 
taught them to think accurately. 

14. Therefore, after a preliminary training in the 
shortest and simplest rules of oratory, they should proceed 
to put these into practice by imitating the best masters. 
They should, however, not confine themselves to the sub- 
jects that they have already studied, but should traverse 
the whole field of truth, of existence, of human life, and of 
divine wisdom ; that if they know anything which is true, 
good, pleasant, or useful they may be able to express it in 
suitable language, or, if necessary, to hold a brief for it. 
For this purpose they will at this stage be supplied with 
a mental furniture that is by no means to be despised, 
namely, a varied acquaintance with the facts of nature, 
and a good stock of words, of phrases, and of historical 
knowledge. 

1 5. But of this we can speak more fully elsewhere ; 
that is to say, if it be necessary, since the details will work 
themselves out in practice. We will only touch on one 



28o THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

point further. An acquaintance with history is the most 
important element in a man's education, and is, as it were, 
the eye of his whole life. This subject, therefore, should 
be taught in each of the six classes, that our pupils may 
be ignorant of no event which has happened from ancient 
times to the present day ; but its study must be arranged 
in such a way that it lighten their work instead of in- 
creasing it, and serve as a relaxation after their severer 
labours. 

1 6. Our idea is that each class should have its own 
hand-book, dealing with some special branch of history ; 
for example : 

In class i. An epitome of Biblical history. 

ii. Natural history. 

iii. The history of art and of inventions. 

iv. The history of morals. 

v. The history of customs, treating of the habits 
of different nations. 

vi. The general history of the world and of the 
principal nations ; but especially of the boys' 
native land, dealing with the whole sub- 
ject tersely and comprehensively. 

17. As regards the special method to be employed, I 
will make only one remark. The four hours of daily class 
instruction should be arranged as follows : the two 
morning hours should be devoted (as soon as morning 
prayer has been held) to the science or the art that forms 
the special subject of the class. Of the afternoon hours 
the first should be given to history, and, in the second, the 
pupils should be made to exercise style, declamation, and 
the use of their hands, in accordance with the require- 
ments of the class. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

OF THE UNIVERSITY 

I. Our method does not really concern itself with Univer- 
sity studies, but there is no reason why we should not 
state our views and our wishes with regard to them. We 
have already expressed our opinion that the complete 
training in any of the sciences or faculties should be 
reserved for the University. 

2. Our ideal scheme is as follows : 

(i.) The curriculum should be really universal, and pro- 
vision should be made for the study of every branch of 
human knowledge. 

(ii.) The methods adopted should be easy and thorough, 
that all may receive a sound education.- 

(iii.) Positions of honour should be given only to those 
who have completed their University course with success, 
and have shown themselves fit to be entrusted with the 
management of affairs. 

We will briefly give some details on each of these points. 

3. If its curriculum is to be universal, the University 
must possess (i) learned and able professors of all the 
sciences, arts, faculties, and languages, who can thus im- 
part information to all the students on any subject ; (2) a 
library of well-selected books for the common use of all. 

4. The studies will progress with ease and success if, 
firstly, only select intellects, the flower of mankind, attempt 
them. The rest had better turn their attention to more 
suitable occupations, such as agriculture, mechanics, or trade 

281 



282 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

5. Secondly, if each student devote his undivided 
energies to that subject for which he is evidently suited by 
nature. For some men are more suited than others to be 
theologians, doctors, or lawyers, just as others have a natural 
aptitude for and excel in music, poetry, or oratory. This 
is a matter in which we are apt to make frequent mistakes, 
trying to carve statues out of every piece of wood, and 
disregarding the intention of nature. The result is that 
many enter on branches of study for which they have no 
vocation, produce no good results in them, and attain to 
greater success in their subsidiary pursuits than in those 
that they have chosen. 

A public examination, therefore, should be held for the 
students who leave the Latin-School, and from its results 
the masters may decide which of them should be sent to 
the University, and which should enter on the other occu- 
pations of life. Those who are selected will pursue their 
studies, some choosing theology, some politics, and some 
medicine, in accordance with their natural inclination and 
with the needs of the Church and of the state. 

t6. Thirdly, those of quite exceptional talent should be 
rged to pursue all the branches of study, that there may 
Iways be some men whose knowledge is encyclopaedic. 

7. Care should be taken to admit to the University 
only those who are diligent and of good moral character. 
False students, who waste their patrimony and their time 
in ease and luxury, and thus set a bad example to others, 
should not be tolerated. Thus, if there is no disease, 
there can be no infection, and all will be intent upon their 
work. 

8. We said that every class of author should be read in 
the University. Now this would be a laborious task, but 
its use is great, and it is therefore to be hoped that men 
of learning, philologers, philosophers, theologians, physi- 
cians, etc., will render the same service to students as 
has been rendered to those who study geography by geo- 
graphers. For these latter make maps of the provinces, 
kingdoms, and divisions of the world, and thus present to 



OF THE UNIVERSITY 283 

the eye huge tracts of sea and land on a small scale, 
so that they can be taken in at a glance. Painters, also, 
produce accurate and life-like representations of countries, 
cities, houses, and men, no matter of what size the originals 
may be. Why, therefore, should not Cicero, Livy, Plato, 
Aristotle, Plutarch, Tacitus, Gellius, Hippocrates, Galen, 
Celsus, Augustine, Jerome, etc., be treated in the same 
way and epitomised ? By this we do not allude to the 
collections of extracts and flowers of rhetoric, that are often 
met with. These epitomes should contain the whole author, 
only somewhat reduced in bulk. 

p.. E pitomes of this kirid will be of great use . In the 
first place it will be possible to obtain a general notion of 
an author when there is no time to read his works at length. 
Secondly, those who (following Seneca's advice) wish to 
confine themselves to the works of one writer (for different 
writers suit different dispositions), will be able to take a 
rapid survey of all and to make their choice in accordance 
with their tastes. Thirdly, those who are going to read 
the authors in their entirety will find that these epitomes 
enable them to read with greater profit, just as a traveller 
is able to take in the details of his journey with greater 
ease, if he have first studied them on a map. Finally, 
these abstracts will be of great use to those who wish to 
make a rapid revision of the authors that they have read, 
as it will help them to remember the chief points, and to 
master them thoroughly. 

10. Summaries of this kind may be issued both separ- 
ately (for the use of poor students and those who are not 
in the position to read the complete works) and bound up 
with the complete works, that those who wish to read them 
may get an idea of the subject-matter before they begin. 

11. As regards academic exercises, I imagine that 
public debates, on the model of a Gellian society, should 
be of great assistance. Whenever a professor delivers 
lectures on any subject, works which treat of that subject, 
and these the best that exist, should be given to the 
students for their private reading. Then the morning 



284 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

lecture of the professor should serve as the subject for an 
afternoon debate, in which the whole class may join. One 
student may ask a question about some point that he does 
not understand, and may point out that in the author which 
he has been studying he has found an opinion, backed by 
reasonable arguments and opposed to that of the pro- 
fessor. Any other student may then rise (some forms of 
order being observed), and may answer the question 
raised ; while others may then decide if the point has been 
properly argued. Finally the professor, as president, may 
terminate the discussion. In this way, the private reading 
of each student will be of use to the whole class, and the 
subject will be so impressed on their minds that they will 
make real progress in the theory and practice of the 
sciences. 

1 2. This practice of dissertation may be the means of 
fulfilling my third wish, that public posts of honour be 
given to none but the worthy. This result will be obtained 
if the appointment to these posts depend not on the deci- 
sion of one man, but on the unanimous opinion of all. 
Once a year, therefore, the University should be visited 
by commissioners appointed by the king or by the state, 
just as the Latin-School is examined by its masters. The 
industry of the professors and students can thus be tested, 
and the most diligent of the latter should receive a public 
recognition of merit by having the degree of doctor or of 
master conferred upon them. 

13. It is most important that everything be conducted 
with perfect fairness, and therefore, instead of allowing the 
academic degree to be won by a disputation, the following 
plan should be adopted. The candidate (or several at 
once) should be placed in the midst. Then men of the 
greatest knowledge and experience should question him 
and do all they can to find out what progress he has made, 
both in theory and in practice. For example, they may 
examine him on the text of the Scriptures, of Hippocrates, 
of the Corpus Juris, etc. ; asking him where such and 
such a passage occurs, and how it agrees with some other 



OP THE UNIVERSITY 285 



passage ? if he knows of any writer who holds a different 
opinion, and who that writer is? What arguments he 
brings to bear, and how the contradictory views may be 
reconciled? with other similar questions. A practical 
examination should then follow. Various cases of con- 
science, of disease, and of law should be submitted to the 
candidate, and he should be asked what course of action 
he would pursue, and why ? He should thus be examined 
with regard to a number of cases, until it is evident that he 
has an intelligent and thorough grasp of his subject. Surely, 
students who knew that they were to be publicly examined 
with such severity, would be stimulated to great industry. 

14. There is no need to say anything about travel (to 
which we assigned a place in this last period of six years, 
or at its conclusion), except to remark that we are at one 
with Plato, who forbade the young to travel until the hot- 
headedness of youth had passed away, and they were 
sufficiently versed in the ways of the world to do so with 
advantage. 

15. It is scarcely necessary to point out how useful a 
School of Schools or Didactic College would be, in what- 
ever part of the world it were founded. Even if it be vain 
to hope for the actual foundation of such a college, the 
desired result might still be brought about, existing institu- 
tions being left as they are, if learned men would work 
together, and in this way seek to promote the glory of 
God. These men should make it the object of their asso- 
ciated labours to thoroughly establish the foundations of 
the sciences, to spread the light of wisdom throughout the 
human race with greater success than has hitherto been 
attained, and to benefit humanity by new and useful inven- 
tions ; for, unless we wish to remain stationary or to lose 
ground, we must take care that our successful beginnings 
lead to further advances. For this no single man and no 
single generation is sufficient, and it is therefore essential 
that the work be carried on by many, working together 
and employing the researches of their predecessors as a 
starting-point. This Universal College, therefore, will bear 



286 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

the same relation to other schools that the belly bears to 
the other members of the body ; since it will be a kind of 
workshop, supplying blood, life, and strength to all. 

16. But we must return to our subject and say what 
remains to be said about our schools. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

OF THE UNIVERSAL AND PERFECT ORDER OF INSTRUCTION 

r. We have now spoken at length on the necessity of 
reforming schools and on the methods by which this 
reformation can be effected. It will not be amiss if we 
give a brief summary of our ideals and of the means we 
have proposed for their realisation. 

2. Our desire is that the art of teaching be brought to 
such perfection that there will be as much difference 
between the old system and the new, as there is between 
the old method of multiplying books by the pen and 
the new method introduced by the printing-press ; that 
is to say, the art of printing, though difficult, costly, and 
complicated, can reproduce books with greater speed, 
accuracy, and artistic effect, than was formerly possible ; 
and, in the same way, my new method, though its diffi- 
culties may be somewhat alarming at first, will produce a 
greater number of scholars and will give them a better 
education as well as more pleasure in the process of 
acquiring it, than did the old lack of method. 

3. It is easy to imagine how impracticable the first 
attempts of the inventor of printing must have appeared, 
in comparison with the simple use of the pen ; but the 
event showed of what great use the invention was. For, 
firstly, by means of a printing-machine two youths can 
now produce more copies of a book than could have been 
written by two hundred in the same time. 

Secondly, manuscript copies differ in the number and 
287 



288 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

size of their pages, and the individual lines do not 
correspond to one another; while printed copies are as 
like to their original as one egg is like to another, and this 
is a great advantage. 

Thirdly, it is impossible to tell if manuscripts are 
correct without revising them and comparing them 
accurately with the original, and this is a laborious and 
wearisome task. But in the case of printed books the 
correction of one proof ensures the accuracy of thousands 
of copies. This would seem incredible to any one un- 
acquainted with printing, but is nevertheless true. 

Fourthly, only firm and stiff paper is suitable to write on, 
but printing is possible on thin and flimsy paper, or on linen. 

Finally, it is possible for men who are unable to write 
to be the most excellent printers ; since it is not with their 
fingers that they carry out the operation, but by means of 
skilfully arranged type that cannot err. 

4. Similar results might be obtained if this new and 
comprehensive method of teaching were properly organised 
(for as yet the universal method exists only in expectation 
and not in reality), since (i) a smaller number of masters 
would be able to teach a greater number of pupils than 
under the present system. (2) These pupils would be 
more thoroughly taught ; (3) and the process would be 
refined and pleasant. (4) The system is equally efficacious 
with stupid and backward boys. (5) Even masters who 
have no natural aptitude for teaching will be able to use 
it with advantage ; since they will not have to select their 
own subject-matter and work out their own method, but 
will only have to take knowledge that has already been 
suitably arranged and for the teaching of which suitable 
appliances have been provided, and to pour it into their 
pupils. An organist can read any piece of music from his 
notes, though he might not be able to compose it or to 
sing or play it from memory ; and a school-master, in the 
same way, should be able to teach anything, if he have 
before his eyes the subject-matter and the method by 
which it should be taught. 



OF THE ORDER OF INSTRUCTION 289 

5. Pursuing this analogy to the art of printing, we will 
show, by a more detailed comparison, the true nature of 
this new method of ours, since it will thus be made 
evident that knowledge can be impressed on the mind, 
in the same way that its concrete form can be printed on 
paper. In fact, we might adapt the term "typography" 
and call the new method of teaching " didachography." 
But this conception we will analyse at length. 

6. The art of printing involves certain materials and 
processes. The materials consist of the paper, the type, 
the ink, and the press. The processes consist of the 
preparation of the paper, the setting up and inking of the 
type, the correction of the proof, and the impression and 
drying of the copies. All this must be carried out in 
accordance with certain definite rules, the observance of 
which will ensure a successful result. 

7. In didachography (to retain this term) the same 
elements are present. Instead of paper, we have pupils 
whose minds have to be impressed with the symbols of 
knowledge. Instead of type, we have the class-books and 
the rest of the apparatus devised to facilitate the operation 
of teaching. The ink is replaced by the voice of the 
master, since this it is that conveys information from the 
books to the minds of the listener; while the press is 
school-discipline, which keeps the pupils up to their work 
and compels them to learn. 

8. Any kind of paper can be used, but the cleaner it 
is, the better it will receive the impress of the type. In 
the same way, our method can deal with any class of 
intelligence, but succeeds best with talented pupils. 

g. There is a great analogy between the type and the 
class-books (that our method requires). Firstly, the type 
have to be cast and polished, before books can be printed ; 
and in the same way the necessary apparatus must be 
provided before we can begin to use the new method. 

10. A considerable quantity of type is required to 
print a whole work, and the same thing holds good of 
class-books and teaching apparatus; since it is irritating, 

19 



290 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

tedious, and fatal to good, teaching to begin and then to 
be compelled to leave off through lack of the proper 
appliances. 

11. A well-managed printing-press is supplied with all 
kinds of type, and is thus equal to every demand that can 
be made upon it ; and, similarly, our class-books must 
contain everything necessary for a thorough education, 
that there may be no one who by their aid cannot learn 
whatever should be learned. 

12. The type are not left in confusion, but are neatly 
arranged in boxes that they may be ready to hand when 
needed. Similarly, our class-books do not present their 
subject-matter to the pupil in a confused mass, but split 
it up into sections, allotting so much to a year, a month, 
a day, and an hour. 

13. Only those type which are needed at the minute are 
taken from the type-cases ; the rest remain undisturbed. 
Similarly, no books but those intended for his class should 
be given to a boy ; others would only confuse and dis- 
tract him. 

14. Finally, type-setters use a straight edge which helps 
them to arrange the words in lines, and the lines in 
columns, and prevents any part from getting out of place. 
In the same way the instructors of the young should have 
some standard or model to aid them in their work ; that 
is to say, guide-books should be written for their use, and 
these should tell them what to do on each occasion, and 
should preclude the possibility of error. 

15. There will, therefore, be two kinds of class-books, 
those that contain the subject-matter and are intended for 
the pupils, and guide-books to assist the teacher to handle 
his subject properly. 

16. As we have already remarked, it is the voice of the 
teacher that corresponds to the ink used in printing. If it 
be attempted to use type when they are dry, nothing but 
a faint and evanescent mark is made on the paper, in 
contrast to the firm and almost indelible impression that 
results when they have been inked. Similarly, the in- 



OF THE ORDER OF INSTRUCTION 291 

struction that boys receive from books, those dumb teachers, 
is obscure and imperfect, but when it is supplemented by 
the voice of the teacher (who explains everything in a 
manner suitable to his hearers), it becomes vivid and 
makes a deep impression on their minds, so that they 
really understand what they learn and are conscious that 
they understand it. Again, printing-ink differs from writing- 
ink, since it is made, not with water, but with oil (indeed, 
those who want a very superior ink, use the finest oil and 
the best charcoal) ; and, similarly, the voice of a teacher 
who can teach persuasively and clearly should sink like oil 
into the pupils' minds and carry information with it. 

17. Finally, the function of the press in printing is per- 
formed in schools by discipline, which is in itself sufficiently 
powerful to ensure that no pupil shirk his studies. Every 
sheet of paper that is to form part of a book must pass 
through the press (hard paper needing more, and soft 
paper less pressure) ; and, similarly, whoever wishes to learn 
at a school must be subjected to its discipline. There are 
three grades of discipline : firstly, perpetual watchfulness ; 
for since we can never put implicit faith in the diligence 
or innocence of boys (are they not Adam's brood ?) we must 
keep them continually under our eyes. Secondly, blame, 
by which those who leave the beaten path must be recalled 
to the way of reason and obedience. Finally, punishment, 
which must be employed if exhortation have no effect. All 
discipline, however, must be used with prudence and with 
no other object than to induce the pupils to do all their 
work well. 

18. I said that certain processes were necessary, and 
that these had to be carried out in a certain definite 
manner. This point deserves a brief investigation. 

19. If a certain number of copies of a book is to be 
printed, that number of sheets is taken at once and printed 
from the same block, and from each successive block, from 
the beginning to the end of the book, the same number of 
sheets, and neither more nor less, is printed ; since other- 
wise some copies of the book would be imperfect. In the 



292 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

same way, our didactic method lays it down as an essential 
condition that the whole school be given over at one and 
the same time to the teaching of one master, that from 
beginning to end all the scholars be subjected to a graduated 
course of instruction, and that none be allowed to enter 
after the session has once begun, or to leave before it is 
finished. In this way it will be possible for one master to 
teach a large number of pupils, and for all the pupils to 
learn every branch of knowledge thoroughly. It will 
therefore be necessary for all the public schools to open 
and to close at the same time (it suits our method best if 
the schools open in autumn rather than in spring), in order 
that the task allotted to each class may be completed each 
year, and that all (except those wanting in intellect) may 
be brought up to a certain standard at the same time, 
and may enter the next class together. This is an exact 
analogy of the method used in printing when all the copies 
of the first page are printed first, then those of the second 
page, and so on. 

20. The better class of books are divided into chapters, 
columns, and paragraphs, and have spaces on their margins 
and between their lines. Similarly, our didactic method 
must have its periods of toil and of rest, with definite 
spaces of time set apart for honest recreation. The tasks 
are mapped out for each year, month, day, and hour, and 
if these divisions are duly observed no class can fail to 
reach the necessary standard at the end of the session. 
There are excellent reasons why the hours of public 
instruction should not exceed four daily, of which two 
should be before, and two after mid-day. On Saturday the 
two afternoon hours may be remitted, and the whole of 
Sunday should be devoted to divine service, so that we 
have thus twenty-two hours weekly and (making allowance 
for the holidays) about a thousand hours yearly. How 
much might be taught and learned in this time, were it 
only methodically employed ! 

21. As soon as the type has been set up, the paper is 
flattened out and laid ready to hand, that nothing may 



OF THE ORDER OF INSTRUCTION 293 

impede the process of printing. Similarly, a teacher should 
place his pupils in front of him that he may see them and 
be seen by all. This we have already shown in chap. xix. 
Problem i. 

22. The paper is damped and softened, that it may 
be better fitted to receive the impression of the type. 
Similarly the pupils in a school must continually be urged 
to attend, as we have already explained. 

23. When this has been done, the type are inked, that 
a distinct impression may be taken from them. Similarly, 
the teacher makes the lesson vivid by means of his voice, 
reading it over and explaining it, that all may understand. 

24. The paper is then put into the press, one piece after 
the other, that the metal type may impress their form on 
each and every sheet. Similarly, the teacher, after he has 
explained a construction, and has shown by examples how 
easily it can be imitated, asks individual pupils to reproduce 
what he has said, and thus show that they are not merely 
learners, but actually possessors of knowledge. 

25. The printed sheets are then exposed to the wind 
and are dried. Similarly, in school, the intellects of the 
pupils are exposed to the bracing influences of repetition, 
examination, and emulation, until it is certain that the 
lesson has been thoroughly learned. 

26. When they have passed through the press, the 
printed sheets are all taken and arranged in order, that it 
may be seen if the copies are complete and without defects, 
and are therefore fit to be bound, sold, and used. The 
same function is performed in schools by the examination 
at the end of the year, when the progress of the pupils, 
and the thoroughness and comprehensiveness of their 
training, are investigated by the inspectors; the object 
being that these latter may certify that the subjects 
appointed have been properly learned. 

27. So far we have confined ourselves to generalities, 
reserving our detailed investigation for a more suitable 
occasion. For the present it is sufficient to have shown 
that our discovery of didachography, or our universal 



294 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

method, facilitates the multiplication of learned men in 
precisely the same way that the discovery of printing has 
facilitated the multiplication of books, those vehicles of 
learning, and that this is greatly to the advantage of man- 
kind, since " the multitude of the wise is the wisdom of the 
world" (Wisdom vi. 24). And, since our desire is to 
increase the sum of Christian wisdom, and to sow the 
seeds of piety, of learning, and of morality in the hearts of 
all who are dedicated to God, we may hope for the fulfil- 
ment of the divine prophecy : " The earth shall be full 
of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea " 
(Isaiah xi. 9). 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

OF THE THINGS REQUISITE BEFORE THIS UNIVERSAL 
METHOD CAN BE PUT INTO PRACTICE 

I. There is no one, I imagine, who, after a careful examina- 
tion of the question, will not perceive how blessed would 
be the condition of Christian kingdoms and states if they 
were supplied with schools of the kind that we desire. We 
must therefore see what is necessary in order that these 
speculations may not remain speculations, but may be 
realised in some definite form. Not without reason does 
John Csecilius Frey express his surprise and indignation 
that throughout so many centuries no one has ventured 
to reform the barbarous customs of our schools and uni- 
versities. 

2. For more than a hundred years much complaint has 
been made of the unmethodical way in which schools are 
conducted, but it is only within the last thirty that any 
serious attempt has been made to find a remedy for this state 
of things. And with what result ? Schools remain exactly 
as they were. If any scholar, either privately or in school, 
embarked on a course of study, he found himself a butt 
for the mockery of the ignorant or the malevolence of the 
ill-disposed, or finally, being unable to obtain any assist- 
ance, found his endeavour too laborious, and gave it up. 
Thus all efforts have hitherto been in vain. 

3. We must therefore seek and find some way by which, 
with God's assistance, motive power may be supplied to 
the machine that is already sufficiently well constructed, 

295 



296 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

or at any rate can be constructed on the foundations which 
exist, if the obstacles and hindrances that have hitherto 
been present be wisely and firmly removed. 

4. Let us isolate and examine these obstacles. 

(i.) There is a great lack of methodical teachers who 
could take charge of public schools and produce the results 
that we have in view (indeed, with regard to rayjanua which 
is already used in schools, a man of great judgment has 
written to me complaining that in most places one thing 
is lacking, namely, suitable men to use it). 

5. (ii.) But even if teachers of this kind existed, or if they 
could all perform their task with ease by using time-tables 
and forms all ready prepared for them, how would it be 
possible to support them in each village and town, and in 
every place where men are born and brought up in Christ ? 

6. (iii.) Again, how can it be arranged that the children 
of the poor shall have time to go to school ? 

7. (iv.) The opposition of pedants, who cling to old ways 
and despise everything that is new, is greatly to be dreaded, 
but for this some remedy can easily be found. 

8. (v.) There is one factor which by its absence or its 
presence can render the whole organisation of a school 
of no avail or can aid it in the highest degree, and that is a 
proper supply of comprehensive and methodical class-books. 
Since the invention of printing, it has been an easy matter 
to find men who are able and willing to make use of it, who 
will supply the funds necessary for the printing of good and 
useful books, and who will purchase books of this kind. 
Similarly, if the subsidiary apparatus necessary for compre- 
hensive teaching were provided, it would be easy to find 
men to employ it. 

9. It is evident, therefore, that the success of my scheme 
depends entirely upon a suitable supply of encyclopaedic 
class-books, and these can be provided only by the colla- 
boration of several original-minded, energetic, and learned 
men. For such a task transcends the strength of one man, 
and especially of one who is unable to devote his whole 
time to it, or who may be imperfectly acquainted with 



OF THE THINGS REQUISITE 297 

some of the subjects that must be included in the com- 
prehensive scheme. Moreover, if absolute perfection be 
desired, one lifetime is not sufficient for the completion of 
the work, which must therefore be entrusted to a collegiate 
body of learned men. 

10. But it is impossible to call such a body into exist- 
ence unless it be supported and financed by some king or 
state, while to ensure success a quiet and secluded spot 
and a library are necessaryTN^n addition, it is essential 
that no one offer any opposition to such a goodly plan for 
glorifying the Creator and benefiting the human race, 
but rather that all prepare to work in harmony with the 
grace of God, which will be communicated to us more 
liberally through these new channels. 

11. Therefore let your zeal blaze forth when ye hear 
this wholesome counsel. O dearest parents of children, 
into whose charge God has entrusted His most ^precious 
treasures, those made in His own image, may ye never 
cease to entreat the God of Gods that these efforts may 
have a successful issue, and by your prayers and solicita- 
tions to work upon the minds of powerful and learned men. 
In the meantime, bring up your children piously in the fear 
of God, and thiis prepare the way for that more universal 
education of which we have spoken. 

12. Do you also, O instructors of the young, whose 
task it is to plant and water the tender grafts of paradise, 
pray with all earnestness that these aids to your labours 
may be perfected and brought into daily use as soon as 
possible. For since ye have been called that "ye may 
plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth" 
(Isaiah li. 16), what can be more pleasing to you than to 
reap as rich a harvest as possible from your labour ? There- 
fore, let your heavenly calling, and the confidence of the 
parents who entrust their offspring to you, be as a fire 
within you, and give you and those who come under your 
influence no rest until the whole of your native land is lit 
up by this flaming torch. 

13. Ye men of learning, to whom God has given wisdom 



298 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

and Iceen judgment that ye may be able to criticise such 
matters as these and improve them by your counsels, see 
that ye delay not to assist the sacred fire with your sparks, 
nay, rather with your torches and with your fans. Let 
all consider that saying of our Christ : " I came to cast fire 
upon the earth ; and what will I if it is already kindled ? " 
(Luke xii. 49). If He wish His fire to burn, woe unto him 
who, when he has the opportunity of bringing fuel to the 
flames, contributes nothing but the smoke of envy, male- 
volence, and opposition. Remember the reward that He 
promises to His good and faithful servants who employ the 
talents entrusted to them in such a way that they gain 
others, and the threats that He utters against the slothful 
who bury their talents in the earth (Matt. xxv. 25). There- 
fore, let not your own knowledge suffice you, but use all 
your strength to further the instruction of others. Be 
guided by the example of Seneca, who says : " I wish to 
communicate -all that I know to others " ; and again : " If 
knowledge were given me on the condition that I should 
keep it to myself and not share it with others, I should 
refuse it " {Epist. 2 7). Do not, therefore, withhold instruc- 
tion and wisdom from the Christian people, but rather say 
with Moses : " Would God that all the Lord's peoples were 
prophets ! " (Num. xi. 29). The reformation of the Church 
and of the state is comprised in the proper instruction of 
the young ; and shall we, who know this, stand idle, while 
others put their hand to the work ? 

14. May we all, with one accord, be moved to promote 
such a worthy object in every possible manner by advising, 
warning, exhorting, reforming, and in every way furthering 
the work for God and for posterity. And let no one think 
that he is not called upon to act in the matter. For though 
a man may be naturally unsuited to be a schoolmaster, 
or may be fully engaged by his duties as a clergyman, a 
politician, or a physician, he makes a great mistake if he 
think that he is on that account exempt from the common 
task of school-reform. If he wish to prove his devotion to 
his calling, to him who calls him, and to those to whom 



OF THE THINGS REQUISITE 299 

he is sent, he is bound not only to serve his God, his 
Church, and his country, but also to train up others to 
do so after him. Socrates has been praised because he 
employed his time in educating the young instead of hold- 
ing some public office. " It is of more use," said he, " to 
train men who can govern, than to govern oneself." 

15. O learned scholars, I beseech you not to despise 
these suggestions because they originate with one less 
learned than yourselves. Remember the saying of Chry- 
sippus : " Many a market-gardener has spoken to the point. 
Perchance an ass may know what you do not." And of 
Christ : " The wind bloweth where it listeth, and ye hear 
its voice, but know not whence it comes or whither it 
goes." In the sight of God I protest that it is not by any 
overweening confidence in myself, or by a desire for fame 
or for personal advantage, that I am impelled to advertise 
these ideas of mine. It is the love of God and the wish to 
improve the condition of humanity that goad me on, and 
will not suffer me to keep silence when my instinct tells 
me what should be done. Therefore, if any oppose my 
efforts, and hinder the realisation of my ideas instead of 
aiding it, let him be assured that he is waging war, not 
against me, but against God, against his own conscience, 
and against nature, whose will it is that what is for the 
common good be given over for the use of all men. 

16. To you also I appeal, Theologians, since it is in 
your power to be the greatest assistance or the greatest 
obstacle to my designs. If you choose the latter course, 
the saying of Bernhard will be fulfilled: "That Christ has 
no bitterer enemies than His followers, and especially those 
who hold the first place among them." But let us hope 
that your actions will be worthier, and more suited to your 
calling. Remember that our Lord charged Peter to feed 
not only His sheep but also His lambs, enjoining him to 
take especial care of the latter (John xxi. 15). This is a 
reasonable injunction, since shepherds find it easier to feed 
sheep than to feed lambs, which have still to be moulded 
by the discipline of the flock and the staff of the herdsman. 



300 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

Surely a man betrays his ignorance if he prefer unlettered 
hearers ! What goldsmith does not try to procure the very 
purest gold ? What shoemaker does not try to obtain the 
finest leather? Let us likewise be children of light and 
wise in our generation, and let us pray that schools may 
supply us with as many educated hearers as possible. 

1 7. And suffer not envy to enter into your hearts, O 
servants of the living God, but rather lead others to that 
charity that envies not, seeks not its own advantage, and 
thinks no evil. Let no envious thoughts arise if others 
originate schemes that have never entered into your minds, 
but be content to learn from others ; in order that (as 
Gregory says) all, being full of faith, may praise God, and 
may be instrumental in spreading the truth. 

18. But to you, in particular, do I direct my prayers, 
ye rulers and magistrates, who, in God's name, preside over 
human affairs. To you, as to Noah, it has been entrusted 
from on high to build an ark for the preservation of the 
Word of God in this terrible deluge of disasters (Gen. vi.). 
It is your duty, as it was that of the princes of old, to aid 
in the-building of the sanctuary, and to see that no obstacle 
be placed in the way of the artificers whom the Lord has 
filled with His Spirit and has taught to devise ingenious 
plans (Exod. xxxvi.). You, like David and Solomon, should 
summon architects to build the temple of the Lord, and 
should supply them with the necessary materials (i Kings 
vi. ; I Chron. xxix.). You are those centurions whom Christ 
will love if you have loved His little ones, and erected 
schools for them (Luke vii. 5). 

19. For Christ's sake, for the sake of our children's 
salvation, I beseech you to listen to me. This is a weighty 
question, and concerns the glory of God and the salvation 
of mankind. Well do I know how much you love your 
country. If a man came to you and promised to tell you 
how all your towns might be fortified at a slight cost, how 
all your youths might be instructed in the art of warfare, 
how your rivers might be made navigable and be filled 
with merchant-vessels, in short, how your state might be 



OF THE THINGS REQUISITE 301 

brought to a higher pitch of prosperity and security, you 
would give, not only your careful attention, but your 
heartiest thanks as well, to him who showed such solicitude 
for your welfare. And now, what is far more important 
than any of these things has been shown you, namely, the 
real and never-failing rnethod by which a supply of such 
men may be secured, men who, by discoveries such as I 
have indicated, can be of immense service to their country. 
With truth did the sainted Luther write, when exhorting 
the cities of Germany to found schools: "Where one 
ducat is expended in building cities, fortresses, monuments, 
and arsenals, one hundred should be spent in educating 
one youth aright, since, when he reaches manhood, he 
may induce his fellows to carry out useful works. For, a 
good and wise man is the most precious treasure of a state, 
and is of far more value than palaces, than heaps of gold 
and of silver, than gates of bronze and bars of iron.'' 
Solomon also is of the same opinion (Eccles. ix. 13). If 
then we acknowledge that no expense should be spared in 
order to give one youth a thorough education, what can 
we say when the gate is opened to the universal education 
of all, and to an unfailing method by which the under- 
standing may be developed ? when God promises to shower 
His gifts upon us? when our salvation seems so near at 
hand that His glory dwells with us on earth ? 

20. Open wide your gates, O princes, that the King of 
glory may come in (Psalm xxiv.). Give to the Lord glory 
and honour, ye sons of the mighty. May each one of you be 
like David, who sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the 
mighty one of Jacob : " Surely I will not come unto the 
tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed ; I will not 
give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids ; until 
I find out a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the Mighty 
One of Jacob " (Psalm cxxxii.). Stay not to consider 
the expense. Give to the Lord, and He will repay you 
a thousandfold. He who says, " The silver is mine and 
the gold is mine" (Haggai ii. 9), can demand this as a 
right, yet of His mercy He adds (when exhorting the people 



302 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

to build His temple) : " Prove me now forthwith if I will 
not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out 
a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive 
it" (Mai. iii. lo). 

2 1 . Do Thou, therefore, O Lord our God, give each one 
of us a joyful heart to serve Thy glory as best he may. 
For Thine is the grandeur, the power, the glory, and the 
victory. All that is in heaven and in earth is Thine. 
Thine, O Lord, is the kingdom ; Thou art over all princes. 
Thine are the riches, and Thine is the glory, the might, 
and the power ; Thou canst glorify and magnify whatso- 
ever Thou pleasest. For what are we, who have but 
received Thy gifts from Thy hands ? We are but strangers 
in Thy sight as were our fathers. Our life on earth is but 
a shadow and passes away. O Lord our God, all that we 
do to the honour of Thy name, comes from Thee. Give 
to Thy Solomons a perfect heart that they may do all that 
tends to Thy glory (i Chron. xxix.). Strengthen, O God, 
that which Thou hast wrought for us (Psalm Ixviii. 28). 
Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory 
upon their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our 
God be upon us ; and establish Thou the works of our 
hands upon us (Psalm xc. 16). In Thee, O Lord, have I 
trusted, let me never be confounded. Amen. 



NOTES 



I. Gregory Nazianzen. — A Father of the Church in the fourth 
century. He was renowned for his eloquence, which he employed in 
combating the Arian heresy. 

2. Wolfgang Ratich or Ratke (born at Wilster in 1571, died 
at Erfurt in 1635). — One of the immediate forerunners of Comenius in 
school reform. He enjoyed the patronage of Count Ludwig of Anhalt- 
Kbthen, through whose liberality he was enabled to found a six-class 
school at Kothen, in accordance with his didactic principles. He also 
undertook the reorganisation of the schools at Augsburg, Weimar, 
Magdeburg, and Rudolfstadt. The lack of success that attended his 
efforts was due to his quarrelsome disposition and to his utter inability 
to establish a modus vivendi with his colleagues and assistants. For 
his Principles, see Intr. II. 

3. ElLHARD LUBIN (born in 1565, in the Duchy of Oldenburg ; 
died in 1621). — Professor of Poetry and Theology at the University of 
Rostock. His Didactic, quoted by Comenius in sec. 17 of his introduc- 
tion, has not been preserved. 

4. Christopher Helwig (1581-1617). Professor of Theology, of 
Greek, and of Oriental Languages in the University of Giessen. He 
was one of the Commissioners who examined Ratke's didactic method 
in 1612. 

5. Franciscus Ritter. — This may possibly have been a clergyman 
and mathematician of some repute in the Palatinate in the early seven- 
teenth century. Morhof mentions him under the name Franciscus 
Ridderus {Polyhistor, i. I. 16). 

6. Johannes Bodinus (1530-1596). — A lawyer at Toulouse, author 
of a treatise, Methodus adfacilem historiarum cognitionem. 

7. VoGEL. — Probably Ezechiel Vogel, a schoolmaster at Gbttingen, 
and author of a work, Ephemerides lingua Latina, in which he shows 
how a boy, by working two hours daily, may learn Latin in one year. 

3°3 



304 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

8. Glaum ; Wolfstirn. — Of the owners of these names I have 
been unable to obtain any information. 

9. John Valentine Andrew. — Court-preacher at Stuttgart, where 
he died in 1654. He was a considerable power in the Church and in 
the school-room. 

10. Janus C^cilius Frey. — A German physician residing at Paris, 
where he died of the plague in 1631. On educational questions he 
wrote several books, remarkable for their sound common-sense. 

11. This section is signed with Andrese's name, but cannot have been 
written by him, as in the original Bohemian version of the Great Didactic 
it appears in a considerably altered form. Possibly the last sentence is 
quoted from one of Andrete's works. 

12. Stob^us. — A native of Stobi in Macedonia, where he lived 
about 500 A.D. , and composed an Anthology of extracts from as many 
as 500 Greek authors. 

13. PiTTACUS OF Mitylene. — One of the seven wise men of 
Greece. Lived about 600 B.C. 

14. Sextus Pompeius Festus. — A Roman grammarian who lived 
towards the end of the fourth century A. D. 

15. John Ludovic Vives. — One of the great pedagogues of the 
sixteenth century. Was born at Valencia in 1492 ; professed the 
' ' Humanities " at Louvain and was afterwards invited by Henry VIII. 
to England, where he became the tutor of the Princess Mary. His best 
known works on education are : De ratione sttidii puerilis epistola dues ; 
De tradendis disciplinis sive de institutione Christiana ; De institutione 
fcemime Christiana ; Introductio ad Sapientiam. 

16. Bernhard. — Abbot of Clairvaux in 1115. A man of great 
ecclesiastical and political influence, and one of the .instigators of the 
Third Crusade. 

17. Lactantius. — For some years tutor to a son of the Emperor 
Constantine. Converted to Christianity in middle life, he wrote a 
voluminous treatise, Divinarum institiitionum libri vii. ; a plea for 
Christianity, intended for pagans who had received a philosophic 
education. He died about 330 A. D. 

18. Matthew Dresser (1536-1607). — Was successively Professor 
of Greek at Erfurt, Professor of Rhetoric at Jena, Rector of the school 
at Meissen, and Professor of Greek and Latin at Leipzig. 

19. Liebhard Camerarius. — A renowned sixteenth century scholar 
and editor of the classics. Sympathised with the Reformation and was 
a friend of Melanchthon's. Died in 1574. 

20. GuLARTius.— Nothing appears to be known of this scholar or 
his works. 



NOl^ES 30s 



21. George Agricola (born in Saxony, 1490).— The founder of 
the modern school of mineralogy and metallurgy. Mining in Germany 
owed much to his researches, which were considered authoritative as late 
as the eighteenth century. 

22. Christopher Longolius (1488-1522).— Born at Mecheln and 
resident in Paris. A renowned classic of his day. Died at Padua. 

23. HiPPOLiTUS GUARINO.— Lived in the first half of the seven- 
teenth century. Was town physician at Speyer. 

24. John Pico Mirandolo (1463- 1494).— In early youth gave 
evidence of remarkable ability. When fourteen years old went to 
Bologna, where he studied canon law and philosophy. His memory 
was so retentive that if 20,000 words were repeated to him once, he 
could reproduce them in the same order. He published 900 theses 
and challenged the learned men of the whole world to dispute with 
him on any one of them. Accused of heresy, he was acquitted by 
Pope Innocent VIII. He died at Florence. 

25. Joseph Justus Scaliger. — Flourished in France at the end of 
the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries. Possessed a 
marvellous knowledge of the classics and of oriental languages. His 
learning was more than equalled by his vanity and quarrelsomeness. 

26. Pierre de la RamAb. — Professor of Mathematics and Humanity 
at the University of Paris in the middle of the sixteenth century. Was 
killed in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, August 24th, 1572. 

27. Gregory Cnapius (i574-i638).^A Polish Jesuit, Professor of 
Oratory, Mathematics, and Theology. Was author of a Thesaurum 
Polono-Latino- Grcecum. 

28. Not conjunctus but comvinctus is now the generally accepted 
derivation of cunctus. 

29. Joachim Fortius or Ringelberg (died in 1536). — Born at 
Antwerp and brought up at the court of Maximilian I. A man of 
varied talent, and a voluminous author, he attained success as a mathe- 
matician, a philologist, a painter, and an etcher. 

30. Robert Flutt (1574-1637). — Born at Milgate in Kent. 
Travelled in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and finally settled in 
London, where he practised medicine. On physics he had the most 
fantastic notions, and imagined that the root principles of chemistry 
were to be found in the Bible. Was author of a Meteorologica Cosmica. 

31. Andreas Hyperius (1511-1564). — A member of the Reformed 
Church, born at Ypres. He studied at Paris and lectured there on 
Dialectic and Rhetoric, afterwards becoming Professor of Theology at 
Marburg. 

32. Fulgentius. — A Catholic Bishop who lived about 500 A.D. 



3o6 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

He defended the views of the Orthodox Church against the Arian and 
Pelagian heresies. 

33. Priscian. — A grammarian who lived and taught at Constan- 
tinople in the sixth century. His Latin Grammar was the basis for 
much of the grammatical instruction of the middle ages. 

34. Expulsion of pagan books. — It is difficult to reconcile Comenius' 
denunciation of the classics in this chapter with his introduction of 
them into his scheme elsewhere. In this phase of mind he does but 
return to the distrust displayed by the Church for the new learning 
introduced by the Renaissance. It is curious to note that no stress is 
laid on the Utilitarian and " pressure-of-other-subjects " argument now 
so frequently made use of. Comparatively recently (1850 and 1851) 
two French writers, the Abb^ Gaume and Bastiat, have condemned the 
use of the classics in schools from a point of view very similar to that of 
Comenius. Gaume in a pamphlet, Le ver rongeur, maintained that all 
literature prior to Christ's coming was devoid of morality, and that the 
Fathers should be read in preference to Latin writers of the golden age. 
Bastiat, in a curious book entitled Baccalauriat et Socialisme, objects to 
any study that will introduce school-boys to a people who, hke the 
Romans, lived by robbery and oppression. " Cette nation," he de- 
clares, "s'est fait une politique, une morale, une religion, une opinion 
publique conforme au principe brutal qui la conserve et la developpe. 
La France ayant donn^ au clerg^ le monopole de I'education, celui-ci 
ne trouve riende mieux k faire que d'envoyer toute la jeunessefran9aise 
chez ce peuple, vivre de sa vie, s'inspirer de ses sentiments, s'enthousi- 
asmer de ses enthousiasmes, et respirer ses id^es comme I'air." 

35. Cassiodorus (died 562 a.d.). — Held high office under Theo- 
doric and his successor. After the fall of the Goths he retired into 
seclusion and employed himself in writing works of a philosophic 
nature on grammar and orthography. 

36. PiETRO Bembo. — A renowned Italian Cardinal in the sixteenth 
century. Was secretary to Pope Leo X. , and wrote with elegance in 
both Latin and Italian. 

37. IsiDORUS (died 635 a.d.).— Bishop of Seville. Was a student 
of the classics in an age when they were generally neglected. Com- 
piled a kind of encyclopaedia entitled Originum sive Etymologiarum 
libri XX. 

38. Sketch of the Mother- School.— 1\. is interesting to observe the 
development or rather the application at the present day of Comenius' 
ideas on infant education. The following extracts from the French 
code of 1887 reflect the Comenian spirit very markedly : — 

" L'^cole maternelle n'est pas une ^cole au sens ordinaire du mot ; 



NOTES 307 



elle forme le passage de la famille a I'^cole, elle garde la douceur affec- 
tueuse et indulgente de la famille, en mtoe temps qu'elle initie au 
travail et a la r^gularite de I'^cole." ..." Une bonne sant^ ; I'ouie, 
la vue, le toucher dejk exerc^s par une suite gradu^e de ses petits jeux 
et de ses petites experiences propres a I'education des sens ; des id^es 
enfantines, mais nettes et claires, sur les premiers elements de ce qui 
sera plus tard I'instruction primaire ; un commencement d'habitudes et 
de dispositions sur lesquelles I'ecole puisse s'appuyer pour donner plus 
tard un enseignement r^gulier ; le gofit de la gymnastique, du chant, du 
dessin, des images, des recits ; I'empressement k ecouter, a voir, k ob- 
server, k imiter, a questionner, a r^pondre ; une certaine faculte 
d'attention entretenue par la docilite, la confiance et la bonne humeur ; 
I'intelligence ^veill^e enfin et I'Sme ouverte a toutes les bonnes impres- 
sions morales ; tels doivent Stre les r^sultats de ces premieres annees 
pass^es i recole maternelle, et, si I'enfant qui en sort arrive ^ I'^cole 
primaire avec une telle preparation, il importe peu qu'il y joigne 
quelques pages de plus ou de moins du syllabaire." 

39. William Zeppbr. — A preacher at Herborn at the close of the 
sixteenth and beginning of seventeenth centuries. 

40. John Henry Alsted. — See Intr. I. and II. 

41. Simon Stevin (died 1633). — The author of numerous mathe- 
matical works and an inspector of dams in Holland. 

42. Justus Lipsius (born 1574). — Resided at Louvain, where he 
wrote works of a philosophical nature. His learning and his literary 
style are greatly praised by Morhof. 



APPENDIX 

THE WORKS OF COME^fIUS, ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL 
ORDER OF COMPOSITION 

[C] signifies thai the work was written in Czech 

1. 1612. Linguae Bohemicas Thesaurus, hoc est Lexicon plenis- 
simum, Grammatica accurata, idiotismorum elegantise emphases ada- 
giaque. 

2. 1612. Amphitheatrum Universitatis. 

3. 1613. Sylloge quaestionum controversarum, philosophize viridario 
depromptarum. Herbornae, 1613. 

4. 1615. De angelis. 

6. 1616. Grammaticae facilioris prsecepta. Pragae, 1616. 

6. 1617. Pauperum oppressorum clamores in coelum. Olmutii, 
1617. 

7. 1620. The spiritual salvation of faithful Christians, worn out by 
countless temptations. [C. ] 

8. 1620-2. De Antiquitatibus Moravise. 

9. 1620-30. De origine Baronum a Zerotin. 

10. 1621. Moraviae nova et post omnes priores accuratissima 
Delineatio, auctore J. A. Comenio. 1st ed. 1627 ; last, 1695. 

11. 1622. Meditations on the Christian perfection, which God, in 
His Word, shows to His chosen ones ; which He implants in them 
through His Spirit ; and which, to their unspeakable blessedness, He 
kindles and brings to full completion. Prague, 1622. [C] 

12. 1622. The impregnable fortress of God's name, where all find 
safety who fly thither in trials and in danger. [C] 

13. 1622. Lamentation of a Christian over the oppression of his 
Church and of his country. [C] 

309 



3IO THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

14. 1623. The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the 
Heart. Amsterdam, 1663. [C] 

15. 1623. The orphan's plight. That is to say, abandonment by 
all friends, protectors, and helpers. Lissa, 1634. [C] 

16. 1625. Centrum securitatis. Lissa, 1633. [C] 

17. 1625. The Revelations and Visions of Christopher Kotter. [C] 

18. 1626. The Psalms of David. A version in Czech. Vienna, 
1661. 

19. 1628-32. The Didactic of John Amos Comenius. Prague, 
1849. [C] 

The Latin version, under the title Didactica Magna, was published 
at Amsterdam in 1657. 

20. 1628. Informatorium of the Mother-School. Prague, 1858. [C] 
The Latin version, under the title : Schola Infantise, sive de provida 

Juventutis primo sexennio Educatione. Amsterodami, 1657. 
German version by Comenius. Lissa, 1633.' 

21. 1628. Vernaculse Scholas Classis sex Libelli. 

22. 1628. J. A. Comenii Janua Linguarum Reserata. Sive 
Seminarium Linguarum et Scientiarum Omnium. Hoc est Compen- 
diosa Latinam (et quamlibet aliam) Linguam, una cum Scientiarum, 
Artiumque omnium fundamentis, perdiscendi Methodus ; sub Titulis 
centum, Periodis autem mille, comprehensa. ist edition pub. by 
Comenius in 1633. Published in Greek and Latin at Oxford as late as 
1800 ; and in Latin, German, and Czech at Prague in 1874. 

23. 1629. De veris et falsis prophetis. Written in Czech and 
translated into Latin for inclusion in Lux in Tenebris. 

24. 1630. Praxis Pietatis ; The practice of true Piety. [C. ] Lissa, 
1631. 

26. 1630. Funeral oration over Esther Sadowska (written in 
German). 

26. 1631. Grammatica latina legibus vernaculse concinnata. 

27. 1631. Concordance of the Holy Scriptures. (Burnt at Lissa.) 

28. 1631. Evangelistarum Harmonia. 

29. 1632. Historia fratrum Bohemorum. 

30. 1632. Manual of the Holy Scriptures. Written for the 
Bohemian Church. [C] 

31. 1632. History of the sufferings, the death, the burial, and the 
resurrection of Jesus Christ ; compiled from the four Evangelists. [C] 

32. 1632. Historia Persecutionum Ecclesise Bohemicae. Jam inde 
a primordiis conversionis suae ad Christianismum, hoc est, Anno 894 
ad Annum usque 1632. Ferdinando secundo Austriaco regnante, In 
qua Inaudita hactenus Arcana Pohtica consilia, artes, prsesentium 



APPENDIX 3H 

bellorum verse causae et judicia horrenda exhibentur. Nunc primum 
edita cum duplici Indice. A.D. 1648. Translated into Czech and 
published at Lissa in 1655. 

33. 1632. Haggaeus Redivivus. Sorrowful exhortation, in God's 
name, of Christian rulers, of God's ministers, and of all nations. [C] 

31. 1632. Short sketch of the reorganisation of schools in the 
Kingdom of Bohemia. [C] 

35. 1632. The Basis and Duration of the two Churches, the true 
and the false ; of which the true Church, founded in Paradise through 
the name of Jesus Christ, will endure to the end of the World. [C. ] 

36. 1632. Some questions that concern the Unity of Bohemian 
Brethren. First printed in 1878. [C] 

37. 1632-3. Physicse ad lumen divinum reformatas synopsis philo- 
didactorum et theodidactorum censurae exposita. Lipsise, 1633. 

38. 1632. Astronomia ad lumen Physicum reformanda. 

39. 1632-3. The wisdom of the Forefathers set forth as a mirror 
for their Descendants. First printed in 1849. [C] 

40. 1633. JanuEe Linguarum Reseratse Vestibulum, Quo Primus ad 
Latinam Linguam aditus Tirunculis paratur. Many editions. Latest 
in 1867. 

41. 1634. Suggestions for a new edition of the Chant- Book. [C] 

42. 1634. Conatuum Comenianorum Praeludia. Oxonise, 1637. 

43. 1635. Leges lUustris Gymnasii Lesnensis. 

44. 1635. Account of a tractate hostile to the Unity, by Samuel 
Martin, and refutation of the same. Lissa, 1636. [C] 

45. 1636. XXL Sermons. Of the mysteries of Death and of Resur- 
rection. Lissa, 1636. [C] 

46. 1636. The Mirror of Good Government. Funeral oration over 
Count Raphael of Lissa. Lissa, 1636. (Composed in German.) 

47. 1637. J. A. Comenii Faber Fortune sive Ars consulendi 
ipsi sibi. Amsterodami, 1657. 

48. 1637. The Way of Peace ; that is to say, the only true and 
unfailing means by which God's Church can be preserved in Harmony, 
Concord, and Love. Lissa, 1637. [C] 

49. 1637. De Qusestione Utrum Dominus Jesus Propria Virtute a 
mortuis Resurrexit. Ad Melchiorem Schefferum Socinistam, breve ac 
solidum Joh. A. Comenii Responsum. Amstelodami apud Joannem 
Janssonium 1659. 

50. 1637. De Sermonis Latini Studio, Per Vestibulum, Januam, 
Palatium, et Thesauros Latinitatis, quadripartito gradu plene absol- 
vendo, Didactica Dissertatio, Lissa, 1637. 

81. 1638. Diogenes Cynicus Redivivus, sive De compendiose Philo- 



312 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

sophando. Ad Scholae ludentis exercitia olim accommodatus, nunc 
autem luci datus. Authore J. A. Comenio. Amstelodami, 1658. 

52. 1638. Abrahamus Patriarcha. Scena reprsesentatus anno 
1641 in Januario, sub examen Scholse publicum. Amstelodami. 
Anno 1 66 1. 

63. 1638. Conatuum Pansophicorum Dilucidatio. In gratiam 
censorum facta. Londini, 1639. 

54. 1639. A Dextris et Sinistris, hoc est pro fide in Christum, 
Deum-Hominem cum Marcioniticis deliriis (Humanitatem Christi 
abnegantibus) Lucta. Amsterodami, 1662. 

55. 1640. De Christianorum Uno Deo, Patre, Filio, Spiritu. 
Fides antiqua, Contra Novatores. Amstelodami, 1659. 

56. 1640 (?). Janua Rerum reserata, hoc est Sapientia prima 
(quam vulgo Metaphysicam vocant) ita Mentibus hominum adaptata ut 
per eam in totam Rerum Ambitum Omnemque interiorem Rerum 
Ordinem Et in omnes intimas rebus Coaeternas Veritates Prospectus 
pateat Catholicus Simulque ut eadem omnium humanorum Cogitationum, 
Sermonum, Operum, Fons et Scaturigo, Formaque ac Norma esse 
appareat. Authore J. A. Comenio. Lugduni Batavorum. • Apud 
Hjeredes Jacobi Heeneman. Anno 1681. 

57. 1641. Via Lucis. Hoc est, Rationabilis disquisitio, quomodo 
Intellectuahs animorum Lux, Sapientia, tandem sub Mundi vesperam 
per omnes mentes et gentes feliciter spargi possit. Amstelodami, 
1688. 

58. 1641-3. J. A. Comenii Pansophiae Diatyposis Ichnographica et 
Orthographica delineatione. Totius futuri operis amplitudinem, dimen- 
sionem, usus adumbrans. Amsterodami, 1645. 

69. 1643. Irenica qusedam scripta Pro pace Ecclesise. 

60. 1643. Calendarium Ecclesiasticum. 

61. 1644. Judicium de Judicio Valeriani Magni Mediolanensis, 
Super Catholicorum et Acatholicorum Credendi Regula, sive Absurdi- 
tatum Echo. Amstelodami, 1644. 

62. 1644-6. Linguarum Methodus Novissima Fundamentis Didac- 
ticis solide superstructa. 1648. 

63. 1645. Jo. Amos Comenii Eccl. Boh. Episcopi, De Rerum 
Humanarum Emendatione Consultatio Catholica. 2nd ed. Halle, 
1702. 

64. 1645. Judicium Ulrici Neufeldii de Fidei Catholicse Regula 
Catholica, Ejusque Catholico Usu ad Valerianum Magnum Omnesque 
Catholicos. 1654. 

66. 1645. Regulse Vitse Sapientis, harmonics, tranquilly, actuosse, 
negotiis obrutse, liberaliter otiosse, peregrinantis denique. 1645. 



APPENDIX 313 

66. 1645. Pansophiae dogmaticse, Latinis olim decretorise, nunc 
systematicEe vulgo dictse delineatio juxta diatyposin J. A. Comenii. 

67. 1646. Christianismus reconciliabilis reconciliatore Christo. Hoc 
est quam facile Christian; si vere ac serio Christian! esse velint, non 
discordare possint, tam clara ut Sol meridie est demonstratio. 

68. 1648. Independentia seternarum Confosionum Origo Specta- 
mini Venerabilis Nationalis Synodi in Nomine Christi Londini in 
Anglia congregatae subjecta Anno 1648. 

69. 1649. Of the 'casting out of the dumb and other devils. A 
sermon delivered at Lissa. 1649. [C] 

70. 1649. Index plenus vocum Germanicarum. 

71. 1649. Johannis Lasitii, nobilis Poloni Historise de Origine Et 
Rebus gestis Fratrum Bohemicorum Liber Octavus, qui est De Moribus 
et Institutis eorum. Ob prsesentem rerum statum seorsim editus. 
Anno 1649. 

72. 1649. Manuductio in viam pacis ecclesiasticse. 

73. 1649. Funeral Oration over Paul Fabrik. [C] 

74. 1650. Syntagma rerum, conceptuum, et verborum. 

76. 1650. The Will of the Dying Mother ; in which she divides 
among her sons and heirs the treasures entrusted to her by God. 
Lissa, 1650. [C] 

76. 1650. Schola Pansophica. Hoc est, Universalis Sapientise 
Officina, ab annis aliquot ubi ubi gentium erigi optatse : Nunc autem 
Auspiciis lUustrissimi Domini D. Sigismundi Racocis de Felseovadas 
Saros-Pataki Hungarorum feliciter erigenda. 1 651. 

77. 1651. De reperta ad Authores Latinos prompte legendos et 
clare intellegendos Facili Brevique Via, Schola Latina, Tribus Classibus 
divisa. Amsterodami, 1657- 

78. 1 65 1 -2. Eruditionis Scholasticse Pars Tertia. Atrium Rerum 
et Linguarum Ornamenta exhibens. In usum Scholse Patakinas editum. 
Anno 1652. 

79. 1651. J. A. Komensky's The Art of Preaching. Prague, 
1823. [C] 

80. 1651. Primitiae laborum Scholasticorum. 1651. 

81. 1651-2. Laborum Scholasticorum in lUustri Patakino Gymnasio 
continuatis. 

82. 1652. Joachimi Fortii Ringelbergii De Ratione Studii Liber 
Vere Aureus. Des. Erasmi Roterodami. De Ratione Studii. Edited 
by Comenius, with an Indroduction. 

83. 1653. Fortius Redivivus, sive de pellenda Scholis ignavia. 

84. 1653. Prsecepta Morum. InusumJuventutiscoUecta. Anno 1653. 
86. 1653. Leges Scholas bene ordinatae. 



314 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

86. 1653. Orbis sensualium pictus. Hoc est, Omnium funda- 
mentalium in Mundo rerum et in Vita actionum, Pictura et Nomen- 
clatura. Nuremberg, 1658. 

87. 1653. Animae sanctee sterna Regna cum Triumpho ingredientis 
Beatum Satellitium. Anno 1653. Addressed to Laurence de Geer on 
the death of his father. 

88. 1654. Schola Ludus seu Encyclopedia viva, h. c. Januje 
Linguarum praxis comica. Patak, 1656. 

89. 1654. J. A. Comenii Lexicon Atriale Latino-Latinum Simplices 
et nativas rerum nomenclationes e Janua Linguae Latinse jam notas, in 
elegantes varie commutare docens. Amstelodami, 1658. 

90. 1654. Laborum Scholasticorum Patakini obitorum Coronis, 
Sermone valedictorio, ad Scholam Patakinara, ejusque solertes D. D. 
Scholarchas et Visitatores, Generosorumque Reverendorum magnam 
panegyrin, habito imposita. Anno 1654. 

91. 1654. Gentis feUcitas Speculo exhibita iis, qui num felices sint 
et quomodo fieri possint, cognoscere velint. 1659. 

92. 1654-7. Lux in Tenebris. Hoc est Prophetic Donum quo 
Deus Ecclesiara Evangelicam (in Regno Bohemise et incorporatis Pro- 
vinciis) sub tempus horrendse ejus pro Evangelio persequutionis ex- 
tremseque dissipationis ornare, ac paterne solari dignatus est. Sub- 
missis de statu Ecclesise in Terris, prassenti et mox futuro, per Christo- 
phorum Cotterum Silesium, Christinam Poniatovam Bohemam, et 
Nicolaum Drabicium Moravum, Revelationibus vere divinis, ab anno 
1616 usque ad annum 1656 continuatis. Quae nunc e Vernaculo in 
Latinum fidehter translatae in Dei gloriam, afflictorum solatia, alior- 
umque salutarem informationem ipsius Oraculi jussu in lucem dantur. 
Anno 1657. 

93. 1655. The struggle with God in prayer, followed by Resigna- 
tion to His Will in death as in life. A sermon preached at Lissa on 
Sept. 24th ; at the close of a day of great danger. 2nd ed. Halle, 
176S. [C.] 

94. 1655. Panegyricus Carolo Gustavo Magno Svecorum, Gothorum, 
Vandalorumque Regi, incruento Sarmatiae Victori, et quaqua venit 
Liberatori, Pio, Felici, Augusto. Heroi afflictis in solatia, Regibus in 
exemplum, nato. Lugduni Batavorum, 1656. 

95. 1655-6. Evigila Polonia. 

96. 1656. Enoch; or, Of the continual intercourse of believers 
with God. 1656. [C.] 

97. 1656. The Gift of Long Life. A sermon preached at the burial 
of Wacslaw Lochar, Consenior of the Moravian Church at Lissa. [C.] 

98. 1656. Materiarum Pansophicarum Sylva, Definitionum scil. 



APPENDIX 31S 

omnium rerum et Axiomatum (supra 20 annos magnS diligentia Con- 
gestatus) thesaurus. Burnt at Lissa. 

99. 1656. Sapientia Bis et Ter Oculata, Aliud in alio acute videns, 
aliudque per aliud potenter demonstrans. Burnt at Lissa. 

100. 1656. Lesnse Excidium, Anno 1656 in Aprili factum, fide 
historica narratuni. 

101. 1657. Parvulis parvulus, Omnibus Omnia. Hoc est Vesti- 
buli Lat. Linguse Auctarium. Voces Latinas primitivas construi, 
coeptas, et in Sententiolas breves redactas, exhibens. Amsterdami, 
1657. 

102. 1657. J. A. Comenii pro Latinitate Januse Linguarum suje, 
illiusque praxeos Comicse, Apologia. Amstelodami, 1657. 

103. 1657. J. A. Comenii Opera Didactica Omnia, ab anno 1627 
ad 1657 continuata. Amsterodami, Anno 1657. 

104. 1658. Janua sive Introductorium in Biblia Sacra. Norim- 
bergae, 1658. 

105. 1658. Novi Testamenti Epitome, Typorum Diversitate Res, 
Verba, Phrases, Atque Sententias Exhibens. Norimbergae, 1658. 

106. 1659. Disquisitiones de Caloris et Frigoris natura, in prodro- 
mum novae editionis Physicae ad lumen divinum restituendae. Amstelo- 
dami, 1659. 

107. 1659. Book of Chants for the Bohemian Church. Amster- 
dam, 1659. [C] 

108. 1659. Vindicatio Famae et conscientiae Johannis Comenii a 
Calumniis Nicolai Arnoldi. Lugduni Batavorum, 1659. 

109. 1659. Historia Revelationum Christophori Kotteri, Christinae 
Poniatovise, Nicolai Drabicii et quae circa illas varie acciderunt, usque 
ad earundem Anno 1657 publicationem, et post publicationem. 1659. 

110. 1659. Cartesius cum sua naturali Philosophia a Mechanicis 
eversus. Amsterodami, 1659. 

111. 1660. The mournful cry of the Shepherds, terror-struck by 
God's anger, to their perishing and scattered flocks. Amsterdam, 
1660. [C] 

112. 1660. De bono Unitatis et ordinis disciplinaeque et obedi- 
entiae. Amst. 1660. 

113. 1660. De Irenico Irenicorum. Hoc est : Conditionibus 
Pacis a Socini Secta reliquo Christiano Orbi oblatis, ad omnes Chris- 
tianos facta Admonitio A. Johan. Amos Comenio. Amsterodami, 
Anno 1660. 

114. 1661. Theologia Naturalis. A Raymundo de Sabunde ante 
duo secula conscriptus, nunc autem Latiniore stylo in compendium 
redactus. Amst. 1661. 



3i6 THE GREAT DIDACTIC 

115. 1661. Catechism for young Bohemians. Amst. 1661. [C] 

116. 1661. J. A. Comenio de Iterato Sociniano Irenico Iterata ad 
Christianos Admonitio. Amst. 1661. 

117. 1661. Socinismi Speculum uno intuitu quidquid ibi creditur 
aut non creditur, exhibens. Amst. 166 1. 

118. 1662. Johan. Amos Comenii Admonitio Tertia. I. Ad D. 
Zwickerum ut impios suos adversus Christum et Christianam fidem 
impetus temperet ; II. ad Christianos ut tandem evigilent. Amst. 
1662. 

119. 1662. Confession of the Beliefs, Teaching, and Religion of the 
Unity of the Bohemian Brethren. Amst. 1662. [C] 

120. 1662. De rerum huraanarum Emendatione Consultationis 
Catholicse Pars Secunda Panaugia. Ubi de accendenda Mentibus ante 
omnia Luce quadam universali, in qua omnes, Omnia, Omnino videri 
possint, consultatur. 

121. 1662. The Moral Teaching of Cato the Wise, translated into 
Bohemian. Amst. 1662. [C] 

122. 1663. Renuntiatio Mundi. Amst. 1663. 

123. 1663. Revelationum Divinarum, in usum Seculi nostri quibus- 
dam nuper factarum. Epitome. 1663. 

124. 1664-7. Lux e Tenebris. Tenebris, humanarum abomina- 
tionum, Divinarumque plagarum. Lux, Divinarum Consolatiohum, 
glorioseque reflorescentis Ecclesise. 

125. 1667. Petrus Serarius : Responsio ad Exercitationem Para- 
doxam Anonymi cujusdam^Cartesianse Sectae Discipuli qua Philosophiam 
pro infallibili S. Literas interpretandi normS Orbi Christiano obtrudit. 
Amst. 1667. 

126. 1669. Unum Necessarium, Scire Quid Sibi sit Necessarium ; 
in Vita et Morte, et post Mortem. Quod non Necessariis Mundi 
Fatigatus et ad Unum Necessarium Sese Recipiens, -Senex J. A. 
Comenius, Anno setatis suas 77> Mundo expendendum offert. Amst. 
1668. 

127. 1669. De Zelo sine scientia et charitate, Admonitio Fraterna 
J. A. Comenii ad D. Samuelem Maresium : Pro minuendis odiis et 
ampliandis favoribus. Amst. 1669. 



THE END 



Printed by R. & R. Clark, Limited, Edinburgh.